I have earned the reputation of being a “good networker.” Like any other skill, connecting with people develops from an initiative to learn and becomes a behavior through experience. Work environments consist of individuals brought together with a common interest … so it’s a perfect opportunity to learn from the diversity of others.
For quite some time, I have found that regardless of their level … an intentional 30 minute conversation with people in the following categories can offer tremendous insight:
1. The Rookie - someone within their first year of employment with your organization can offer a fresh perspective that is often unbiased and real.
2. The Seasoned - someone who is accustomed to the organization can provide a viewpoint that is practiced and bona fide.
3. The Tenured - someone who is well acquainted with the organization can offer context to a variety of situations based off experience.
Now that you’ve identified who to connect with, it’s equally as important to know what to ask them. I have found that targeting your conversation with these questions (plus answering and sharing them yourself) is enlightening:
1. What have you learned in the last few months that can be applied to your work with the company in the next year?
2. What is the biggest vulnerability of the company?
3. What are some things important to you as an employee?
The importance of connecting, associating, or interacting with people will always be a priority. How you go about starting or maintaining these opportunities should look different, but at the core is the willingness to accept the saying … collectively we can do more than I could ever do alone. Make time for people today.