If you’ll be changing jobs, getting promoted or starting a business, you’ll need more good relationships. Be strategic, because planners win.
You might have to do more than think outside of the box when you build your bank of relationships. You might have to step outside of it, according to Parker Geiger, a coach and CEO of CHUVA Group LLC, based in Atlanta, with offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Polling approximately 400 clients, he now advocates increasing visibility 60 percent of the time, expending 30 percent of your time on image and focusing 10 percent on performance. He suggests these emphases whether you’re job hunting inside or outside of an organization.
“Identify where you’re going,” Geiger advises. “Plan a year ahead. Telephone or email people that you have read about them and would love to talk about what an up-and-coming person needs to do, which channels to explore and what the unwritten rules are.”
Noah Cahoon would agree that asking for help works, but the road can be perilous. He keeps a mentor board as a co-founder of Box Pilots LLC of Highland, Utah, which sells sticker kits for making replicas of airplanes from cardboard boxes. Does this 13-year-old have good advice for building professional relationships?
He planned first. “I wrote down in my journal areas I needed help in, such as retail, marketing and (accounting),” Cahoon explains. Using the Internet, he identified an artist about 30 miles away. A good family relationship led to an accountant he can go see rather than simply communicate with online. He carries his journal to interviews, trade shows — “whenever we do business.” He also records his week’s activities in it.
He concedes to shyness at the outset. “Social media is a great way to build good relationships,” he says, “because you’re able to converse with people without looking them in the eye before talking to them face-to-face. It helped me a lot.” Using his best selling point, his age, Cahoon called people to ask for guidance and felt a bit deflated when some refused to meet with him because of age or company size. However, his confidence increased when he got a “yes.”
“A lot of it is just asking,” he remarks.
Even if you already have some good professional relationships, consider the advice of Leta Herman, professional development consultant at Born Perfect Ink in Northampton, Mass. She recommends identifying which of the five elements of energy — fire, wood, metal, water and earth — applies to you and which two in others are the most compatible with you. You’re fire if you generate excitement, wood if you’re negotiate well, metal if quiet and thoughtful, water if dramatic and humorous, and earth if you build communities. She mentions that once you understand the elements,“Watch how people walk, listen to the sound of their voice or notice how they engage with their eyes to determine which element is dominant in them.”
Herman maintains that you can adjust your style in dealing with the various elements, that doing so isn’t manipulation. “It’s much more about being really honest that these energy dynamics exist,” she believes. “If you’re steadfast in who you are, you’ll have clashes. If you learn you have the capacity to have all of these energies, I don’t think it’s manipulation. It’s about creating resonance.” Her guidelines help you meeting a person with parallel energy to avoid offending that person.
Plan how you’ll build your alliances. Think about developing an “alliance board” and decide how you’ll meet others on their energy stream. Use these skills for your lifetime.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2014 Passage Media.