How to make those networking events work for you (Blog #28)

networking event

The success that you have in your career in strongly linked to the people you have in your corner.

And I’m not just referring to people you know. It’s the people that have your back that will make the difference.

I remember going to my first networking night as a uni student. I made my own business cards. Hilarious, I know. And my aim was to hand them out to as many people as possible. Even as I write this I literally crack up laughing. Yep, that got me real far (Not). Although, you have to give me some credit for showing initiative. Believe it or not, there were plenty of students that didn’t give out one of their business cards. But it still did absolutely nothing for me (lol).

In the corporate world the way that most networking events are set up and the way we’re taught to go about it, doesn’t really do much for us. Yes, we meet the person and we can say we’ve spoken to them, but rarely do they become those people that have got your back.

So, what do I mean when I say someone that’s got your back?

I know you’ll automatically think that I’m talking about a person that will hand a job over to you when you need one. But that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

What I’m talking about is that trusted friend that can understand you at your work level and give you help when you need it. A person that you feel 100% comfortable telling them, if need be, “that it’s all gone to shit and I need help.”

And one of the biggest mistakes that we make is not making any effort to strengthen our ties with these people until we need them.

Yep, I’ve done it and I’m sure you have too. Not contacting a particular person until you actually need them. And then when you do need them, it’s that awkward “Hi, remember me? How you been? Can you do me a favour?” Yep, awkward, awkward, awkward.

So, how do we get onto the path of developing those relationships that could later become our life-lines? A term which Keith Ferrazzi uses quite often in his book “Who’s Got Your Back”.

Well, it really comes down to a few simple things:

When meeting them for the first time try and connect on a personal level. Based on my experience we tend to start the conversation off with questions about their job, which seems quite natural to do. But what we need to remember is that over 80% of people out there hate their job¹. So starting the conversation with this topic isn’t going to create any real bond. A question that many recommend using is “What’s keeping your interest these days?” Through this you could discover shared interests. And that’s when the bonding can start.

Follow up. It could be a simple email. Or a hand written note. You’d be surprised the impact that a hand written note makes these days.

Once you know something about them, think of something you could do for them before you actually need their help. Just for the purpose of helping them out and nothing more. And don’t just think on a work level as that tends to stop people in their tracks. You kind of think well he’s more advance than me so what could I possibly offer him? But maybe when you were talking you discovered that he’s a foodie and you just happen to go to a new restaurant the other night that you absolutely loved. You could shoot him an email telling him about it as a place he should check out. Remember the act of giving is more important than what you give.

And when the offer comes let them help you. We tend to be much more comfortable with helping instead of letting people help us. Keep this in mind next time an offer of help comes. And instead of automatically saying “No” give “Yes” a go. You never know what might come out of it.

Blog Tip #28 – A really good online course that will open your eyes to a world of opportunity, that you can do online at your own pace and space is Live Your Legend’s How To Connect With Anyone course. Look into it. You’ll be connecting with people you never thought possible.

What did you think of blog post #28?

Have you experienced some of the situations described?

Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

Talk to you next week.

Mimoza

 

¹ Scott Dinsmore, TED Talk How to find work you love.

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One of the most important things that managers need to be able to say (Blog #27)

Manager needing help

“I NEED HELP!”

Sounds simple, right?

But it would absolutely blow your mind as to how some managers have just stuffed up completely because of their inability to recognise the need to say these three simple words – “I need help!”

Because of their belief that as managers they can’t say these words. As what kind of manager would they be if they needed help? (Try the human kind)

Just so you can get a good understanding of what I’m talking about, here’s just one example for you.

A manager that I had at one of my past jobs was a nice manager.

My dealings with her were pleasant and polite. Nothing of any real significance was ever discussed. The relationship was that of two acquaintances that had almost nothing to do with each other. Thus, keeping it pleasant and polite was easy.

Her management style, however, paralysed a whole marketing team. When I say paralysed, I mean it was like we were stuck in time and no one was ever, and I mean ever, going to move forward, under her management anyway.

Although, I could write multiple blog posts on what her management style lacked and what it did to us as a team, today I want to talk about what it did to her.

For someone that was our team leader I don’t know how much more separated we could’ve been.

You could say she kind of knew what we were doing through all the sign offs that went her way, but we knew nothing of what she was doing.

I mean you heard rumors. Like she is working on something big, but that was about it.

All you knew is that she was extremely busy. Too busy for you and too busy for the team.

But here she was with the biggest marketing projects that our company had going on and she alone was the only person in our team that was dealing with them. It was all treated as top secret stuff. We weren’t even allowed to know about it.

And there I was a member of her team working on the most boring marketing jobs that could exist on the planet, making minimal impact if any. And it wasn’t just me that felt this way. It felt like half the team was dying of boredom from the most mundane tasks that could exist.

If it wasn’t bad enough that she took it upon herself to do all the work that had any kind of significance, when she did reach out for a bit of help it was to an external marketing agency, not her team.

I couldn’t believe it.

How pathetic did she think we were?

I’d never felt more insignificant in my whole career. It was humiliating.

We’d sit back as nobodies as we watched our team leader endlessly go from one meeting to another for these big jobs she was working on.

Her superiority was also made known through the exclusive marketing seminars she got to go to, all the way overseas might I add.

Was I envious?

Of course I was!

Anyone with an ounce of ambition would be.

My whole time there I never went to any marketing seminars and any requests I made about training were turned down. And I never witnessed anyone from my team go to any marketing seminars either.

(Yep, they were really interested in our development, NOT!)

When our team manager came back from overseas, I was dying to hear something exciting as I was scared I would actually fall asleep at my desk from boredom.

She told us how amazing it was and how she got heaps of info and she was going to share it all with us in detail.

It never happened.

All we got was a 10-minute overview and that was it. With some news that she was working on putting it all to practice soon. Another big project she was working on.

A few weeks later, I went on maternity leave and after having my baby I caught up with some work colleagues about 6 months after. At the catch up I was told that our team manager had been removed from the company to put it nicely.

It appears that the pressure had finally got to her, which resulted in her initially having some time off due to stress issues and then being removed from her job altogether.

And is it surprising?

Anything that was remotely significant she kept to herself to deal with.

And, after all those meetings and seminars and all the secrecy, I never saw anything come out of it. Those big things she was working on never came to fruition.

I never noticed any changes.

Now, had she been more transparent and involved her team, trained her team, allocated to her team, she could’ve had more time to do what her job was to do. To manage her people. To develop her people. To take care of the people in her charge. Not kill herself by taking on board all the work by herself.

What’s the point of having a team if you’re going to do that?

On top of that, here you had a company that invested in this one person more than the whole team combined and at the end of the day for nothing. I wonder what happened to all the information she got from the overseas seminars?

From what I could see nothing!

Blog Tip #27: One of the most vulnerable things that a leader needs to be able to say is “I need help”. Never ignore what your gut is telling you. An excellent book that I’m reading at the moment regarding this topic is Keith Ferrazzi’s “Who’s got your back”. He gives his own account of how he fell into a very similar trap and what he learnt from it. Definitely a must read!

What did you think of this week’s blog post? Have you ever witnessed or experienced anything similar?

Tell me by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

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The common problem with leadership and parenting (Blog #26)

penguins

Now, I know when I mention the word “parenting” you’ll probably think, this blog post isn’t for me. Not for a good 10 years anyway.

But since becoming a mum, which happened five and half years ago, I’ve learnt that the when it comes to the topic of parenting, boy, do we all turn into judgemental monsters!!

Even the shyest person will surprise you with what strong opinions they’ll have on the topic. It’s almost like everyone’s an expert. Everyone knows what the right thing is and their confidence will astonish you. Especially, when it’s safe to say that new parents don’t have neither the experience nor the training to be that confident and yet their confidence will overwhelm you!

And it’s this same over-confidence that I’ve witnessed with managers when it comes to leadership.

Whether as a parent or as a manager/leader we go into it with no experience or training and yet we are somehow convinced we know what we’re doing.

Yeah right! Just one of the many reasons why over 80% of people hate their job¹.

And here’s why it happens in the corporate world.

We get managers and these managers are promoted because they’re good at what they do.

That’s clear.

They were able to do their job very well. Better than their colleagues around them, hence, why they got promoted.

But, now that they’ve been promoted what do they know about leadership?

In most cases NOTHING!

It’s for this reason that micromanagement exists.

You’ll find that the managers that don’t have a clue about leadership are the ones notoriously known for micromanagement.

Why?

Because that’s what they know how to do.

They know how to do their previous job better than everyone else and so they’ll continue to do this for everyone – through micromanagement. And kill any hope of developing the people that report to them.

As a young mum, one of the best things I did was a short course on parenting.

Hey, it was totally free and they offered free crèche. I thought if I get nothing out of it, I’ll at least get a chance to sit down and rest.

When I told people that I was doing a course on parenting, I couldn’t BELIEVE their reactions!

Their faces would change as if to say “What a waste of time!”

“What a stupid idea!”

“As if you need someone to tell you how to be a parent!”

Such negative reactions by people on a topic that we all walk into inexperienced and not knowing what to do.

And you know what?

It ended up being one of the best things I did as a mum!

The course taught me tactics that helped me in everyday life and, more importantly, it taught me about why babies and toddlers do the things they do. Having this extra understanding made me more patient and knowledgeable about what to do.

I guess when we make it to a certain point in our lives, be it in the corporate world or as parents, we feel as though we know it all. But that’s where we make the mistake.

When it comes to leadership it’s not about rank or status, as Simon Sinek would say, it’s about raising people in your charge. It’s about seeing them develop into leaders themselves.

And I can safely say that out of my 10 years and 9 jobs I’ve only experienced this type of leadership once.

In all other jobs, I have to question if leadership even existed.

Blog Tip #26 – As Simon Sinek would describe it, leadership is something that we all need to practice every day from the little things, such as, asking someone how they are and actually caring about the answer. To the big things, where we take responsibility of the people we have under our charge and turn them into leaders.

If you could tell me about one true leader that has made a difference in your life, who would it be?

It could be a teacher, a friend, or a sibling. Who would that person be and why?

Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

 

¹ Scott Dinsmore, TED Talk How to find work you love.

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One of the main reasons why I started this blog (Blog #25)

clueless guy

For those of you that have been following me for a while now, you’d know that I’ve left the corporate world to create a job that I love to do. To follow an interest, which after years of working in a soul-sucking corporate job has become a passion of mine.

But since I’ve started my project it has become something more than that. It’s become about helping you get an awesome start to your career. About helping you to be fully aware of all the things to expect in the corporate world and what you can do about it.

And you may ask why I’m so interested in helping you out? Why do I want to help people young in their corporate career? Be it a business uni grad or a person starting in an entry level corporate position.

Well, it’s for these simple words that would play in my mind every time I’d write a blog post – if only I knew all of this stuff back when I started… If only…

So then, I thought, well maybe I can’t go back in time and tell my twenty-something self, but I can tell you. I can make a difference in your life.

But there was another experience I had, that I want to share with you today, that convinced me that I just have to do this.

Just before I left one of my past jobs, a business uni grad joined us for a few weeks of work experience. As you’d expect he was pretty happy to be there. And who could blame him? I’d have been just as happy to get any experience in the corporate world in my last year at uni.

But what really left an impression on me, was among all the cultural issues being faced and discussed about in front of him, he had this unwavering belief that the manager of our team was undoubtedly right in everything he did.

And there was one incident that really opened my eyes about how clueless he was. How clueless we all are about the corporate world when we finish uni. And it all comes back to the infamous blog post #9 – 3 Signs you’re a corporate dinosaur.

In this blog post I talk about a meeting that we had where our manager was telling us, word for word, to make our processes of accepting work from other teams within the organisation so tedious that they would only go down the path of giving us work to do if it was an absolute necessity. His comment confused all of us, as you see we were the marketing team and here we were outlining a strategy to avoid the work??

But putting everything else aside, my manager’s comment was that of an amateur and nothing about it resembled leadership, it didn’t even come close. Instead of addressing the cultural issues we were facing, he added to them with complete confidence that he was doing the right thing. (EMBARRASSING!!)

There we were in a meeting with 11 people, 5 of which were managers, and the advice that came from the most senior person couldn’t have been more wrong. And no one else in the team was able to say anything better.

I couldn’t help but feel as though I had a duty to tell our work experience guy how wrong the most senior manager in the group got it.

So, when the moment was right (when no one else was around).

I told him.

I asked him what he thought about the meeting and if he had anything to say about the comments said. He was really lost with this unwavering belief that the manager was really trying to do something good here. I explained and explained and he still didn’t get it. He couldn’t believe the manager could be so wrong. And he’d try and provide some confusing answer as to what the manager was trying to do, like it was somehow a puzzle that needing solving. “Maybe he was trying to do this… Or this… Or this…”

And I’d be like, “No, he’s just wrong! Completely wrong!”

He couldn’t believe that a manager could be so wrong. A uni grad close to completing a double degree in business. Anyway, by the end of it, I told him to look up Simon Sinek and to watch his 12 minute TED Talk on why good leaders make you feel safe.

He listened and he watched it. And thought it was good. But I don’t believe he was able to make the connection between what happened in the meeting that day and what he watched.

What I saw, however, was a real gap between what we’re taught at uni and what actually happens in the corporate world. So I thought, if I can help one uni grad with the knowledge and insight I have about the corporate world to make it as a leader or to simply understand what loving your job is really like, then starting this blog is worth it.

Blog Tip #25: Nothing in the corporate world is confusing. In fact, it’s all really straight forward. And if what you’re being told sounds odd, weird, confusing, harder than what it needs to be, then it’s mostly likely a load of crap. And just because someone has the title ‘manager’ it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right all the time. They could be so freakin wrong it’s not even funny!! To see for yourself check out blog post #9 – 3 Signs you’re a corporate dinosaur.

Have you ever experienced something similar? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today!

See you next week.

Mimoza

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