Being “in the know” may seem like a simple concept, but unfortunately the majority of those in the workforce do not pursue this endeavor. This can make or break any business professional’s ambitions and goals, regardless of their experience level.
There is a trend in business that has been ongoing for decades and has caused the downfall of many important endeavors for dynamic business people over the years. It is quite simply the failure of many individuals to see the big picture and to make the connections and/or network with the people who know what is occurring outside their normal spheres of interaction.
Unfortunately, many individuals have chosen to fortify themselves strictly within the confines of their current environment(s). This has been commonly referred to in many circles as “empire building”. People preferring to stay within their comfort zones and be the “Kings” or “Queens” of their domains, as it were. This scenario occurs no matter what industry is involved – Entertainment, Automotive, Technology, Education, etc.
However, there are effective ways to combat this trend and avoid falling into the trap of a limited environment. While leading many training/mentoring sessions and seminars with various people (particularly those who are just starting out within the business world), I have made it a point to demonstrate for them that in order to grow into highly successful individuals, it is necessary to become a person who truly knows what is going on. Both within the spotlight and behind the scenes of their respective companies.
Here are just a few possible methods for achieving this goal:
- Learn who the knowledgeable players are in the game.
Within the various departments of virtually every company are usually one or two people who truly know how to get things done by cutting through the red tape that is ever present within the corporate environment. When these people cross your path, get to know them on their terms, with nothing less than absolute sincerity.
The phrase – “on their terms” – is extremely important. Remember that the people you are seeking to know better are formidable, they will see through any fake smiles, poor attitudes, or ulterior motives almost immediately. Also, don’t force anything, or a tidal wave of rejection could come back upon you. Always proceed with courtesy and respect. There is only one chance to do it right in most cases, so make it count!
- Be a bit subtle, where possible.
If it’s feasible, it is best to make inquiries indirectly at first. If a person is too blatant in their approach right off the bat, too many others will begin to wonder what is going on, which then invites too much scrutiny. Being too aggressive also could cause the recipients to become overly cautious. That in turn could cause additional roadblocks or complications to appear, which then would cause a loss of time, and of course, lost time = lost money + lost opportunity. A very bad equation indeed.
- When the relationship is established, make sure that it goes both ways.
This is an extremely important aspect of this endeavor. Once a rapport has been created with someone through your efforts, be certain that if the opportunity arises to legitimately help or support that person’s projects or activities, do it. Actions always speak louder than words, and this will continue to reinforce to the other person that your intentions continue to be honorable & sincere. This in turn will open the door to future possibilities for further interaction and prosperity.
- Learn the techniques, methodologies, and thought processes utilized by these formidable people.
One of the greatest things that can come from this type of relationship is the opportunity to learn from these very capable individuals. So, when you have the opportunity to be formally mentored by someone of this caliber, do it without hesitation. The insight that can be gained is invaluable and can ultimately lead to further opportunities for success.
The benefits of achieving this level of knowledge and capability are numerous. Here are just a few possibilities:
- Greater visibility within the overall organization.
- More opportunities for career advancement.
- A larger network of contacts.
- An increase in your own overall knowledge and insight.
- Being held in high regard by your peers and Management.
Finally, always remember that business is ever-changing, so the quest to stay in the know is a never-ending adventure that can be filled with excitement, intrigue, and awe-inspiring rewards along the way. Now get out there and make it happen!