“In the new workplace we’re seeing greater emphasis on relationships,” says Brian Kropp, a managing director at CEB in this month’s edition of Forbes. He attributes this interest in how relationships add value to the workplace to the economic crisis, and notices that employees who have been in the company for longer are at a far greater advantage. According to CEB research, longer-tenured workers are beginning to rise to positions of success more quickly than those who move every few years.
The Forbes article suggests making use of your ability to create relationships by choosing to work with others, and to share your ideas.
Don’t Be A Loner
In the new workplace, 40% of employees work with more than 20 people on a given day, and more than 80% work with 10 according to CEB research. “The idea that you can be an individual contributor and be successful is an idea of the past,” says Kropp. “Fitting within the network of the workplace is a part of the new definition of a great employee.”
Be A Thought Leader
All of that knowledge you’ve gained by reading up on the industry? Make a habit of sharing it. “Write articles, make presentations, serve on panels or blog,” she says. “People need to have confidence in you that you know what you’re doing and that you’re willing to use it to help other peoples’ problems.”
See the Big Picture
There are many employees who only focus on what they’re doing, which prevents them from seeing the big picture. Find out what your co-workers are doing. Find out what other departments are doing and link to them. By getting a better understanding of the big picture, it will become clearer to you why you’ve been asked to complete certain projects.
This new research underlines the main message of NETSHEILA: you are part of a circle of colleagues, friends, relatives and acquaintances. Said differently, you exist within a network of people and you form an essential link between your organisation and those people. The people are potential resources. When you to tap into this vast resource you benefit yourself and your organisation. The more effective you become at building relationships, the greater you train yourself as an asset in “people economics” the more valuable your contribution becomes to projects and processes.
Seeing yourself as an asset in the economy of people, you start to look differently at the economic crisis.
NETSHEILA engaged in projects in 2012 where people discovered they can get more done with less effort, simply by tapping into the relational networks of their colleagues. As one university teacher wrote: “The NETSHEILA half day workshop in discovering the secrets of networking was very valuable to me, and to our team. Just look at the contact information I was given for people who can provide me with information as I develop my new curriculum”. At the same time, the way people look at time shifts. People feel overwhelmed an overworked when working alone. When people share their knowledge of how the system works at their workplace, of how to get things done more effectively, who to speak with, and who can be a resource in a specific area, the idea that there is not enough time to get everything done begins to diminish. It is replaced by an idea of being able to do more, with a team.
As the year comes to an end, we at NETSHEILA offer you a simple framework for developing yourself as a person who builds relationships and adds value to your organisation by making use of those relationships.
Define a big goal for yourself that has to do with the people you know and want to get to know. Think carefully about whether this goal is as fun for you as it is for the organisation. You are in charge of balance, no one else! Define specific, measurable and time bound milestones to reaching that goal. Be very clear about the conditions for satisfaction of each milestone. Make life easy for yourself by knowing beforehand how you define success. Be aware that your big goal is a huge contribution to other people. So share your goal with other people and let them contribute to you.
Lin McDevitt-Pugh is the founder and director of NETSHEILA, a company dedicated to working with organisations and individuals to expand their ability to transform the networks of relationships they already have into resources to improve the quality of the workplace. Call +31 6 150 68468 to discuss how your organisation can benefit from working with NETSHEILA or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.