career advice, career management, Careers, Networking, personal brand management, Personal Branding

Success: Is it All About WHO You Know?

Mary Rosenbaum | May 22nd, 2012

Is it all about WHO you know and not WHAT you know? The answer is yes and no. WHO you know can help get you in the running for that promotion, that job, that piece of new business. WHAT you know will help you turn possibilities into reality.

Studies over the past couple of years have proven that larger, diversified networks have a significant impact on your career and your earning capability. The relationship between network size, quality and expected wages is positive. The results of studies over the past 20 years reinforce the fact that wage rates of the most well connected are 15% to 25% higher than those with few connections.

The importance of growing your network cannot be overstated. But the value of your network lies not solely in the numbers. The quality of its members is a vital component. Two of my past posts focused on growing your network and building your tribe. But what about the quality of your network?

Your network consists of two categories of members: those with whom you have close ties and those with weak ties.

Close ties are those relationships where people know you well and understand what you do. You already know many of their contacts and the type of information they can provide. Generally, you travel in the same circles, belong to many of the same social groups, and may even work in the same company or industry.

Weak ties are the opposite. You know them but are not close. You don’t travel in all the same circles therefore you are not familiar with their networks. Because they are not in your immediate circle, they have information and contacts that may prove to be valuable for you, your career and your business. In fact, it’s through weak ties that the majority of leads are disseminated regarding employment and business opportunities. In short, weak ties enable you to reach populations and audiences that are not accessible via strong ties.

Not to confuse things but “followers” on social media networks do not generally fall into the category of weak ties. Although the broad definition of weak ties may fit, you still have to have some form of relationship built on trust, contact, or experience in order for there to be any form of information and contact sharing that extends beyond the superficial. Unless you build a relationship beyond 140 characters your followers cannot be considered weak ties.

What can you do to increase your network in a purposeful way?

First and foremost, ensure that you continue to deepen your close relationships so that you can each act as brand ambassadors for the other. Although they may have more limited resources to share it’s always valuable to have people who are “in your corner.” Their role as advisors, supporters, and cheerleaders is vital to maintaining your confidence and continued professional growth.

To grow your network of weak ties, seek out opportunities where you can meet people from different backgrounds:

– join organizations not related to what you do

– volunteer at nonprofits outside your immediate community

– keep in touch with former colleagues since their network will be different once they leave

– strengthen relationships with “followers” and LinkedIn connections so there can be more meaningful reciprocity in sharing information and contacts

– attend events that interest you and are outside your immediate sphere of influence

– take new classes and expand your horizons

Grow WHO you know with purpose so you can showcase WHAT you know.

What other ways do you grow your network?

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What Successful People Do

Mary Rosenbaum | May 8th, 2012

Why are some people more successful than others in getting what they want out of life? There are lots of reasons and I’m sure no matter how many I list, you will be able to think of others. One of the more important reasons is that people who are successful keep their eye on the prize. That is, they know what they want to accomplish and evaluate decisions that arise based on achieving those goals.

We live in a world that has so many distractions and a myriad of ways we can and do feel productive even when we really aren’t.  Cruising the web, reading countless articles and emails, posting on social media sites – it all makes you feel like you’re doing something important. But will these actions help you reach your goals?

Goals are our road map. They tell us which paths to take, which jobs to consider, which clients to take on, who we should meet or get to know, which skills we should learn, which talents we should highlight, which conferences or meetings we should attend, which associations we should join. The list is endless.

What is not endless is your time.

Identifying goals is the first step in taking control of your career or your business. It makes sense. If you don’t have a defined direction or path you want to take then your career or your business will be something that just “happens” to you. A rudderless boat can make it to shore if the tide is moving in the right direction. But would you take that chance?

Do what successful people do – keep your eye on the prize. Take the precious time you have and define your goals. A great way of looking at it is that goals provide you with the structure you need to design your career with purpose.

So take control and design your career. Take action, set goals with realistic timetables, review and revise the results, and achieve your desired objectives.

Is your life more serendipitous or have goals played the more important role? I know there are people who say that chance and luck played as important a role in their lives as goals. If you’re one of the “lucky” I would love to hear your story.

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