One Career Fact Often Swept Under the Rug

Here’s the skinny: there is always – always –  a ‘list’.

The ‘list’ from which decisions are made for opportunities, promotions, new projects, visible ‘task forces’… name it. There is always a list.

The truth of the matter is this: rarely – if ever – are we present when life-changing career decisions are made for us and about us. Those discussions take place behind closed doors, over quiet cocktails, and at 50,000 feet in first class. And other people are typically the ones charting that course.

Sure, we would love to think that our first-level manager – our immediate ‘boss’ – will be the greatest and loudest cheerleader on our behalf. And sure….that is certainly true most of the time. (Note: I said most of the time.).

Yet, this is NOT always the case. And regardless, the big secret is this: you need more than one advocate, cheerleader, supporter, sponsor, or mentor.

From my experience, we are undoubtedly the company we keep. And having supporters – in positions of influence and power – is a critical success factor in business. It is not – nor has it ever been – enough to just ‘do good work’ and the ‘get er done’ mentality. Sure, that is the ‘ticket to entry’….yet it is simply not enough.

You need to be on ‘the list’ AND you need to have influential advocates pulling for you and promoting your skills and talents.

To think otherwise is folly….and naive.

And these relationships do not happen by circumstance or by accident. They are built. They are nurtured. They are bi-directional. They are critical.

So – what’s the call to action for those who want to take the reins on their career?

  • Build relationships and create supporters in positions of influence. Identify those folks who share common values with you AND perhaps have taken an interest in you.
  • Ask questions. Ask for counsel and advice. Foster genuine engagement based on your desire to learn and grow.
  • Diversify your engagement. Foster more than ‘one’ mentor/supporter. Zig zag in your organizations. Spread your outreach deep and wide.
  • Risk rejection (as not everyone will want to engage or share your enthusiasm for a relationship).
  • Give freely  – upwards, downwards, and sideways – in your organization.  Share ideas, contacts, time, thoughts, help, support, and input – openly and generously. What you give you will, more often than not, get in return.

The raw truth is that being good at your job and having your immediate leader’s support is not enough.

We need a posse of supporters. We need waves of advocacy. We need to be on ‘the List’.

Go for it. No one will do this for you. So – take the reins.

AND….for those of you who would like to know a few other ‘secrets’…..I am hosting an encore webinar on March 23rd at 11:30 am CST to share the 3 OTHER thoughts I have about building a strong, sustainable, and upwardly mobile career. You can ‘save your seat’ here.