3 Tips for Building a Healthy Network

11 04 2019

By René Siegel, CEO, Connext

Hello Everyone! I asked René Siegel, a long-time supporter of the KIT List who hires consultants for high tech clients, to share her best tips on job networking. René has also generously shared her time, wisdom and wit at a KIT List event on a panel of hiring experts. Read on and try these out!
– Sue

Building your personal network sounds as simple as finding people you like or with whom you have something in common. We think of them as our posse, our community, our peeps. Perhaps people who inspire us.

But here’s what people don’t tell you about networking. Your circle can also be a cage. You can surround yourself with the same people, for years and years, without making sure they’re the right people for you, right now.

Smiling group.jpgHere are three tips for building a healthy network:

1. More is not better.
You may assume the more connections and opportunities you have the better. I have thousands of connections but only a few dozen are truly my dearest colleagues, the ones I rely on to inspire me and always have my back. It’s like weeding your garden. You need to keep pulling the weeds or they will overtake and ruin your garden. Working with people you already trust increases your chances of success and reduces headaches. You don’t have to delete them, but, you can say no (no, thank you) to bad business and bad people as you carefully build your brand.

2. Take me or leave me.
Many people only come around when they want something from you—like the ever popular “Can I pick your brain?” request. Be selective with whom you share your expertise. Sometimes it can lead to a lucrative opportunity, but mostly you’re just adding coins to the karma bucket and that’s okay, too. Delete those who drain your mojo. And if you’re going to be generous with your time and expertise, don’t be afraid to ask for something in return like a referral or recommendation.

3. The more diverse, the better.
No matter the stage of your career, you need to proactively meet people who are different than you. Different ages, different industries, different expertise, different backgrounds. After a 20-year career working with lots of 20-year veteran colleagues, I started speaking to university classes. That led to a part-time teaching role that re-energized my business model! You’ll be far more marketable if you’re surrounded by diverse people who challenge what you know with their ideas and experience.

Everyone in your circle might not be in your corner. It’s your responsibility to attract the right people and repel the wrong ones. Be picky about the people you invest your time with and go the extra mile for.

There are bad clients and crazy bosses who may want to take advantage of you. People can suck the life out of you—if you let them.

You should be picky about the people you invest your time with and go the extra mile for. Not everyone deserves that from you.

 

 About the Author

Rene Shimada Siegel at SRK Headshot Day
René Shimada Siegel is extremely passionate about empowering colleagues and advocating for the next generation of communicators. She is the CEO of Connext, Silicon Valley’s marketing and communications consultancy. For two decades, her company has made life easier for hundreds of technology clients with specialized contractors ranging from recent grads to senior strategists. Current clients include Adobe, LinkedIn, Google, and Salesforce. René also passes on her real-world experience to students as an adjunct public relations professor at San Jose State University.

As an entrepreneur, René’s been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Working Mother, Newsweek Japan, CNBC, and Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation, among others. She’s also been a regular columnist for Inc.com and a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, career strategies, and personal branding.

Anyone interested in learning more about Connext can reach René at rene@connextme.com.

 





What Matters in Doing Your Best Work

27 10 2014

Hello Everyone,

I’m sharing this blog post by Sally Thornton that offers a different way of looking at your passions versus your skills in finding your path to meaningful work.

Warmly,

Sue

What Matters in Doing Your Best Work

By Sally Thornton, CEO and Founder of Forshay

We hear it so often: Follow your passions. Do what you love and the money will follow. But then we keep listening for more specific advice and, not surprisingly, it often conflicts.

Recently, Jeffrey Katzenberg surprised a crowd by suggesting that young people follow not their dreams, but their skills: “I believe every human being does something great. Follow that thing you’re actually really good at and that may become your passion.” In the parlance of the diagram above, he’s suggesting that the joy of doing something well, something you’re suited for, can turn a job into a career.

Meanwhile, in a speech to Stanford business school students, Oprah Winfrey suggests two keys to finding your “power base,” following your instincts and connecting your skills with your values: “Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.” In the language of the diagram above: when what you do well meets what the world needs, you turn a talent into a career.

I love Oprah more than I do Disney (although with Frozen maybe I can love both). But the thing Winfrey and Katzenberg have in common here is the assumption that both success and fulfillment require that we look consciously at our lives, taking into account both practical needs and less rational – but equally crucial – issues of fulfillment.

20141027-163719.jpgSo how do we apply all this to our actual lives-in-progress?

When I talk to people about finding satisfying work, the conversation often turns to deeper issues – what they like and don’t like doing day to day, and how that syncs (or doesn’t) with the effect they want to have on the world. The question underlying these conversations is a big one: “Does what I’m working on really matter?”

I often talk with people at crossroads in their careers. So many of them have succeeded by societal standards but, in the midst of that success, they feel something is missing – call it heart or impact. They’ve been heads down, working hard for so long, and finally they realize some part of their diagram of “doing your best work” is missing. And sometimes they conclude that, to find passion or meaning in work, they must make an enormous change. Give it all up. Do something entirely different.

For some people – the ones who should have been artists, activists, explorers all along – taking such a leap is a lifesaving move. But for many more, the changes they might want to make are more subtle, more of a recalibration. I ask these people to envision ways they could use their talents not to start anew but to expand what is possible. Which of their current skills can they offer the world, and in what capacities might exercising those skills bring them fulfillment? How can they use those skills in new ways? If the company where they work isn’t aligned with their values, can they find one that is or go freelance? What aspects of their current work take them away from what they value, and how can they shift their focus to give the world what they’re made to offer?

In short, for each of us, the diagram of “doing your best work” is a work in progress, one that continues to shift across our working lives. When we start to engage with the questions it represents, we move closer to work that we feel matters.

What does your diagram look like? What shifts do you need to make? Tell us what you think – join the conversation here.

About the Author:
Sally Thornton is Founder of Forshay (www.Forshay.com). Sally has extensive experience addressing the unique talent needs of the Bay Area’s most remarkable companies, including national business leaders such as Genentech and Levi Strauss, and rapid-growth startups.