In a previous post I discussed how successful influencers do not rely on their positional power alone to get them what they want. They instead develop relationships at all levels — the strategic alliances and connections necessary for getting their proposals and ideas implemented. Here’s some advice on how to develop these necessary relationships and keep them strong.
Nothing Much Happens Without Alliances and Connections
Alliances: You or your team likely interact regularly with others who, in some small or large way, advise on or contribute to the projects, products, or initiatives you’re tasked to accomplish. These are your alliances – the important others whom you join up with to get the results you’re expected to deliver on.
Connections: Your connections are those who can help remove barriers, get your work noticed, and get you in front of key decision-makers. For moving ahead with your career, these relationships are indispensable.
As an influencer, you need both. Without the right type of advice and assistance from your alliances, your work could fall short of expectations. Without the right connections, most, if not all, of the results that you produce could go unnoticed.
How to Build and Maintain Your Alliances and Connections
For some, building alliances and connections is effortless. For a majority, though, this type of relationship building may seem like hard work.
Here’s how to make it easier: Set your alliance and connection goals to fit with your current work requirements and career aspirations. There is no point in amassing a network just to have one. Look at what you need to get done in your job right now and where you’d like your career to head. Then create the alliances and choose the connections that will help you accomplish those goals.
1. Strengthen Your Alliances
- Who are one to three people from whom you could benefit from advice on or assistance with a current project, product, or initiative you or your team are working on? Consider people whose expertise you may not have tapped into much as of yet.
- Within the next 30 days get a meeting with them individually to talk through how their knowledge and expertise could support your or your team’s work.
- Show your willingness to reciprocate.
2. Build Your Connections
- Identify at least two people above you, two at your level, and two below you with whom there would be mutual benefit from being connected. These individuals could come from groups who are held in high esteem by the organizational system, those who are well-connected to powerful leaders above them, people who have high-level skills and abilities and/or possess institutional knowledge, and those who are informal leaders who are influential among their peers and can unite people to action in a particular direction.
- Choose one person a week from the above list and design how you will build a relationship with them. Who is the first person you will start with, when will you do it, and what will you do?
3. Meet Regularly and Reciprocate
- Get in the habit of meeting with your alliances and connections regularly and exchanging useful knowledge and information. In so doing, you strengthen the reciprocity factor, a must-have in maintaining both types of relationships.
Do You Have the Right Relationships in Place for Your Next Influence Situation?
If not, begin building your alliances and connections now. You never know when you’ll need them to step up or step in for you in an influence situation.
Question: Do you have any tips to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/STILLFX