Questions to ask yourself when starting to build your network

Getting started with your networking

The following are questions you should ask yourself when you are building your network with a specific focus on the two most important layers of your network. The number one being  your inner circle of the most trusted advisors usually 2-to-4 people and the second most important group being your subject matter experts often 6-to-15 people.

Before you start, ask yourself the following questions to help identify who, what, and the why?

Coach Play1) Do I have (and actively interact with) a role model in my chosen profession?

2) How well do I know my chosen profession? Are you an expert in your field,or an intermediate, or just beginning in my career?

3) Can you chart out your current and future career path? What role do you aspire to achieve and why? By when do you aspire to achieve your career goals, in how many years?

4) Do you know someone who is a subject expert in your chosen field? How well do you know this person or persons?

5) If you aspire to be a senior individual in your chosen career do you know peers and/or experts (inside and outside your organization)? Including your chosen profession you should work towards having one subject matter expert for each of the following core functions; Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Legal, Human Resources. As well if applicable; in Engineering, Science, Medicine, Politics & Government, Customer Services, and distribution & warehousing.

6) Have you a recent assessment with critical feedback completed on you?

7) List your top 5 soft skill development needs from you assessment and/or previous performance feedback? Soft Skills include; oral & written communication, conflict & negotiation, problem solving skills, strategic thinking, & management & leadership skills.

8) List your top 5 hard skills development needs from your assessment and/or performance feedback (keep in mind your career aspirations and where are you today relative to these goals)? In looking at hard skills, regardless what profession you are in you must become proficient in your knowledge and understanding of finance and accounting.

No, you do not have to be an accountant, but if you do not know your way around a balance sheet, income statements, KPI’s, and do not understand the concepts of off balance sheet financing or the importance of the notes to annual reports for public companies, you need to. The number one career limiter as people move through their careers and aspire to reach the executive and/or “C-suite” levels is their knowledge of finance!

Depending on your career goals and chosen profession you may need to consider a few of the following hard skills; operations, legal, human resources, sales, marketing, etc.

9) Can you name at least one person you trust, respect, and value their advice and feedback who could potentially be one of you board of directors? If you have more then one list them as well.

10) When you look at your current informal and formal network when was the last time it did the following? Gave you a referral (for business, a job, a key recommendation, a new network contact, or a potential new employee), Acted as a real time role model, You went to for key advice, and/ or helped you grow regarding your own personal development?

11) List the current people in your network and answer why are they in your network?

12) To your knowledge are you active in someone you know own network? If so what role do you think you play in their?

Answer thesee questions and you will have a great start to building your network with capable talented people who will and can help you.

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