Things are going well in your current executive role. You’re busy with challenging projects. Your company is performing well. You’re not itching to make a career transition. So why is having an executive network so important?
Many executives believe that, if you’re not in an active job search, building and cultivating a strong executive network is not a high priority. This is actually a very shortsighted, and potentially career-limiting, viewpoint. Here are four ways that your weak network is hurting your executive career.
1. Your access to information is limited.
As you know, information is power. And the best information comes from people you know and trust. Without a strong executive network, your access to important information is limited or delayed, leaving you in a reactive position.
By investing in relationships with influential executive leaders, you gain early access to privileged information. This gives you a competitive advantage. It also allows you to pivot proactively when necessary.
2. You’re less valuable to your executive leadership team.
As an executive, you’re an asset to your team. However, without a strong executive network, your value is limited. Your executive leadership team is not only interested in what you know, but who you know.
Having powerful executive relationships strengthens your position in the industry. You’re better able to negotiate new business deals, win new customers, and drive new partnership opportunities. This substantially increases your overall value.
3. You’re not being considered for new executive career opportunities.
You may not be ready to make a career transition today, but unless you plan to retire in your current executive role, you will be seeking a new executive career opportunity in the future. If you’re not investing in your executive network, you’ll miss out on highly desirable positions.
The vast majority of executive jobs are not posted publicly. To learn about them, you need relationships with influential leaders who will keep you in the loop and advocate on your behalf. Maximizing your executive network will allow you to proactively manage your career.
4. You’re not as productive as you could be.
Sure, you’re producing results. But without a strong executive network, you lack the influence to make things happen more powerfully and more quickly. Unless you have relationships with (or direct power over) the resources you depend upon, you’re at the mercy of others who may not prioritize your needs over those of others they already know, like, and trust.
When you have a strong executive network, you can call in favors (ethically, of course) when you need something done urgently. You can bypass others and rise to the top of the priority list. In the process, you’re more productive and able to achieve greater results.
Without a strong executive network, you’ll get by. You may even do well – for a while. But at some point, your weak network will catch up with you. Wherever you are in your career, start investing in your executive network immediately. With a strong executive network, you’ll achieve far greater levels of visibility, influence, and overall executive career success.