Building A Strategic Network To Get Promoted
Building a strategic network will help you get promoted. According to ADP, only 8.9% of employees will be promoted by their companies each year. This is because allies and advocates are the people who will connect you to leaders within your company and others. These connections can help you level up your career. The key is to be strategic when building your network.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Executive Coach and Bestselling Author, Bonnie Marcus.
They shared tips and personal stories about how to build a strategic network. This Soulcast Media | LIVE event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at Sabobatage.
Sabobatage is a strategic tabletop game inspired by boba, also known as bubble tea or pearl milk tea. Have you or a friend ever said, ‘I wish I had a boba shop and could drink boba all day?’ Make those dreams come true with this card game that’s fun with your friends and perfect for the whole family.
1. Top Of Mind
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE event, Jessica and Bonnie talked about how many people feel that if they keep their heads down and do their work, they will be seen. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As Bonnie pointed out, most people are too busy with their own jobs to see anyone else. If you want to build a strategic network to help you get promoted, you will need to stay top of mind.
Consider the following:
- Volunteer – Building a strategic network requires meeting more than just the people on your floor or within your department. One of the easiest ways to meet others is volunteering for a project. For example, if you know there is a specific project most people don’t want to do, consider volunteering for it. This will keep you top of mind and increase your credibility with your superior.
- Ask Where You Can Help – If you want the decision makers within your organization to keep you top of mind, consider asking them where you can help. For example, you can say, “I know the XYZ project is pretty complicated. I have experience with this type of project. Is there anything I can do to help?” Your superior may not need your help, but by simply asking, you show a willingness to help out and communicate your value.
- Give Your Thoughts – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared a tip about staying top of mind. She said sometimes giving your thoughts every once in a while can remind people of you. For example, most people are bcc’d on emails. You can reply all with something like “Great idea!” When you do this, you share your thoughts, even if they are short, and everyone will see your name.
Staying top of mind will help you begin to build a strategic network. The more leaders within your organization see and hear from you, the more credibility you build.
2. Connect With Leaders In Your Organization
Connecting with leaders within your organization will help you build a strategic network. These relationships can help you get promoted. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Bonnie shared about how almost all of her promotions came from the strategic network she had built.
Consider the following:
- Be Authentic – Authenticity is how relationships are built. To build a strategic network, you need to ensure you are authentic. This means building a rapport first, and then making any kind of ask. For example, meet for coffee and have a few conversations with your connection. These conversations can be via email, Slack, or phone. After you’ve built a rapport, you can ask for the introduction you were hoping to get. In this way, the other person won’t feel like you are using them.
- Ask About Them – People love to talk about themselves. One of the easiest ways to connect with others within your organization is to ask about them. For example, sit next to the person you hope to connect with during a Lunch and Learn. Ask them what they are working on. Ask them about their weekend. Ask them how they feel about what is happening within the company. When you do this, you begin to build a real relationship and make those important connections.
- Schedule Time – You may not work on the same floor or even the same building as the person you hope to connect with. If this is the case, you will need to schedule a time to meet with them. You can ask them to go for coffee or ask for fifteen minutes of their time. Make sure you keep in mind their schedule. If it is a hectic season for their department, you may want to wait until things slow down before asking.
Being authentic will help you build a strategic network of leaders within your organization.
3. Be Intentional
Making connections and building a strategic network takes time and effort. You need to be intentional. This means looking at ways you can boost your visibility within your company. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Bonnie suggested looking at what your company offers in terms of visibility, and utilizing those programs to your advantage.
Consider the following:
- Committees – Many companies have committees that employees are encouraged to join. Being on a committee can increase your visibility and help you meet others within your organization. For example, you can be strategic in the committees you join. If you know there is a decision maker on the party planning committee, consider joining the party planning committee. You will get more face time with the person you want to meet, and it will help you build an authentic rapport.
- Have A Plan – One way to be intentional about building a strategic network is to write down your visibility plan. For example, your visibility plan could be to volunteer to lead a meeting. Or, you could offer assistance on a project. Having a plan makes all of your decisions more intentional which will help you advance your career.
- Create A Project – Your company may not offer opportunities for you to build relationships with others quickly. If this is the case, you may have to develop your own project. For example, you know the functionality of your website isn’t user-friendly. However, no one has been tasked with improving the user experience. You can develop a plan to do this and offer to work on it. You can invite others to work on it with you. This will increase your visibility and your authority.
Being intentional will help you build your strategic network. Make a plan for yourself to be seen. The more you are seen, the more connections you will make.
Building a strategic network will help you connect with the right people within your organization. These connections will help you get promoted.
If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Bonnie’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
- Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
- Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
- Get your brand in front of 43k+ people by sponsoring our newsletter or Soulcast Media | LIVE LinkedIn events [contact: email@example.com]