Nurture Your Network
Some people find it hard to network. I think it’s because they think of networking like cold-calling: “Hi, I’m Gavriella. Would you like to be in my network” But that’s not how it works, right? Networking is constant. It happens every single day in every interaction we have from the moment we meet someone. So you have to nurture your network.
Every time I get an email or a call from Peter Boit, a former Microsoft co-worker, I’m reminded how important it is to make a good impression.
Years ago, when Peter was the VP of eCommerce at Microsoft, I worked on a project with his team (I don’t even remember what it was now). I apparently made a good impression, because several years—and several roles later, Peter remembered the impact I had on that one project. Peter became a great sponsor for me. And even after he left Microsoft, our paths continued to cross. After stops at Juniper Networks and Smartsheet, and as the Executive Vice President of Business Development for Icertis. He remains an integral part of our partner ecosystem, and I am thankful for our strong partnership. But I wonder if the relationship would be as strong, if I hadn’t made a good impression so many years ago. Peter is just one example and I could give you hundreds.
Every engagement you have with somebody is an opportunity to create a relationship and establish yourself as a trusted, engaged, and valuable person to them. If you take the time from your very first interaction to develop trusted relationships, your effort will pay dividends throughout your career. You never know—five years from now your co-worker today may be your manager, a customer, or a pathway to your dream job. Every job I have earned at Microsoft started with a door that opened from a connection in my network (and typically not from a leader level).
Five key ways you can nurture your network:
- Be a great participant or leader in every project you work on
- Live up to your commitments – Do what you say you’ll do
- Value those around you – Understand the value every person brings
- Publicly credit people for every contribution that they make
- Be gracious and make others feel included
Over the years, my network has fueled my career and brought me inspiration. I can’t tell you how many great ideas I’ve been graciously given by co-workers and colleagues. And just as importantly, my network is filled with deep relationships and friendships that extend well beyond my work life. Nurturing your network is one of the best things you can do for yourself.