Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Networking works...

In the past couple of years, I've heard so much about the importance of networking. I can tell you that it's not a skill that is easily developed - it has been a lot of work for me and now I see the fruits of all that work. When I noticed that it was highlighted as one of the proven strategies for ambitious women, I couldn't resist sharing snippets with you. The focus of the event was: “Navigating, Negotiating, and Building Your Strategic Network.” I encourage you to check out the full article.* Italics and green font mine.

Networking and Relationships
The panelists** agreed that networking is important for women in the industry – but approaching it as building genuine relationships is the key. “Networking – that word sounds like a lot of work to me. I try to think about it as relationships,” Paula L. Rogers said. “It doesn’t have to be calculating.”

She continued, “Generally you’re trying to establish relationships with people above you, people at your level, and even the people who work beneath you. But I would also add that you should be sure you’re also networking with people who aren’t doing what you do.”

Rogers says building external relationships keeps her on top of industry changes and helps her make sure her skills are sharp. “Asset allocation is going to continue to change. You have to play what I call ‘heads-up ball.’ Keep your skills up to date.We all need to be high-skill, high-will ladies if we aspire to succeed.

She added, “Generally, if you come at it from a genuine way without being calculating, it will really help you.” Cynthia Fryer Steer agreed. “Networking is a foreign word for me. To me, it’s just keeping relationships. And never burning bridges – I can’t tell you how small this industry is.” She also suggested that, in an age of text messaging and social networking, a face-to-face meeting is important. “Spending time face-to-face builds your ability to judge people. It’s not hard, but it takes practice.” If you ask me, this is one time when talking to strangers can be a good thing - especially when done strategically.

Ingrid Dyott agreed that relationships should be genuine, but pointed out that being strategic is also important when it comes to your network. “If you’re trying to get a promotion, it can be helpful to be strategic making sure you have the right visibility and people know who you are.” Kathleen McQuiggan added that networking is about maintaining relationships. “Your network is not your tornado shelter when you’re looking for a job – by then it’s too late,” she explained.

From personal experience, I've found that it is always better to take the time to get to know people upfront - before you "need" them because if & when you do need them, you don't need to spend extra time getting to know them. Take the time to make that always has a ripple effect.

*The Glass Hammer - Navigating your career: proven strategies for ambitious women.
**Panelists: Cynthia Fryer Steer, Executive Vice President and Head of Manager Research and Investment Solutions, BNY Mellon; Nicole Arnaboldi, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Alternative Investments, Credit Suisse; Nanette Buziak, Managing Director, Head of Equity Trading, ING Investment Management; Ingrid Dyott, Managing Director and Associate Portfolio Manager, Neuberger Berman; and Paula L. Rogers, President, Institutional Capital.
Moderator: Kathleen McQuiggan, President of Catalina Leadership.

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