Myth-busting alert! Many believe that if you just put your head down and do a really, really good job, then the floodgates will open up and you will be magically presented with endless opportunities and promotions. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to do a good job – but if you think someone will notice your efforts enough to tap you on the shoulder and catapult your career to the next level, then think again. Your visibility and internal network are critical to your success and advancement within any organization especially in today’s remote work environment. Invisibility equals dispensability. If your manager doesn’t know or doesn’t have a clear line of sight into what you’re doing, the value you’re bringing, or the goals you are aspiring to achieve, then how is he/she going to be able to promote you?
Yes, a positive relationship with your manager is paramount, but what about the rest of your internal network? It’s easy to build relationships with people you naturally work with on a regular basis, but what about people from other departments, functions, and executive teams? This has been a true ah-ha moment for many of our ON Point clients and for various reasons. Some have hitched their wagon to a single individual and found themselves either let go when that person was fired or on an island completely alone. Others have realized how critical internal visibility is when they applied for a promotion and discovered they didn’t have the support because senior-level decision-makers didn’t know who they were. Success is a team sport that requires allies, advocates, champions, and cheerleaders to get ahead.
Your internal network will make or break your career, but it doesn’t happen by accident. There are a few “natural networkers” out there, but for most people it requires a mindset shift to make it a priority and a strategic action plan to make it a reality.
Follow the ON Point Action Plan to increase your visibility and to build a robust and effective internal network before you need it.
- Make a list of people you need to know within your organization
- Join special committees, projects, and employee resource groups to develop cross-functional relationships
- Pursue a senior-level leader from a different team to be a mentor or sponsor
- Reach out to another manager with a shout-out or praise about someone on their team
- Be a resource for others by providing information, introductions, or a heads-up
- Step up and lead a new initiative from start to finish that aligns with the organization’s goals
- Show genuine interest, empathy, and respect for other people, their time and their talents