Women Networking: 3 Truths and 3.5 Solutions

by | Mar 6, 2013

Advancing professional women is A BOTH-AND PROPOSITION, where "AND" = men, women, and companies.

Men and Companies

Gender bias exists and needs to be addressed. Corporate culture, structures, processes and practices must change. That's your job. Women can identify what needs to change, but making the change is up to you because you're in the the power positions.

Women

Women need to take the bull by the horns and ride that baby right over the glass ceiling. Let's start with the bull named networking and three truths about too many women.

Let's take the Networking Bull by the Horns

Let's take the Networking Bull by the Horns

Take the networking challenge. Change one of these networking truths, if it applies to you.

Truth 1: She Shies Away from Networking

True Story #1

The board of XX-XY Inc. is holding the CEO accountable for achieving better gender balance. Mr. CEO is holding the executive team accountable. The executive team members are holding their management teams accountable, and so on and so forth. Managers are committed to hiring women. Note: That does not spell Q-U-O-T-A-S.

XX-XY Vice President calls to seek my counsel on the following situation:

"My team and I reached out to our internal and external networks. We asked people to give my contact information to women who might be interested in our opening for __________ . I heard five women would be in touch but I got only one phone call. Help me understand what's going on here."

Ladies, please tell me why you're passing up this opportunity. "I'm not looking for a new job" you say. "So what?" I respond. Here are two good reasons you should meet with him anyhow.

1. Serendipity happens. During your conversation with Mr. VP you might discover a new customer or an excellent vendor. In six months your situation might change, and a phone call to Mr. VP could open the door to a welcomed opportunity.

2. Mr. VP wants to hire women managers and so do his peers. You know other women managers. So, call and connect him to other women in your network.

Truth 2: She Isn't Networking Strategically

True Story #2

She read the handwriting on the wall, out loud, to me. "Lots going on inside the company.  I think my job will be eliminated a year from now." For three years prior, Sandy was on a fast track at Zero Corp. Enter a new EVP in her reporting structure and the political landscape changed. She and several others were knocked down a few rungs on the ladder. Sandy and I agreed she needed start networking strategically.

NETWORKING IS BEST DONE WHEN YOU DON'T NEED SOMETHING.

NETWORKING IS DONE BEST WHEN YOU CAN BUILD A RELATIONSHIP OF MUTUAL BENEFIT AND INTEREST TO BOTH PARTIES.

I introduced Sandy to several senior women in nearby companies. She met two of them once, and did not reach out to the others. Sandy dropped the ball. A year later she called with the news that she was out of work with no network. I told her I wasn't happy with how she responded a year prior. I was reluctant to tap my network for her again. Sandy apologized. Subsequently I left two messages asking her to call, as I had networking contacts for her. She didn't respond for six weeks. I won't be reaching out to Sandy again.

Truth 3:  She Doesn't Automatically Think "Networking"

True Story #3

Ted and Maura work in sales for ABS Inc. The three of us were talking about 3Plus International's Mini Mentoring event in their city. Ted saw it as an opportunity to make a good-will deposit with several women customers and invited them to attend as his guest. Maura knows a woman in sales who's looking for a job, but "It never occurred to me to invite her. I didn't connect the dots." AHA moment. She's now learning to think "networking".

Networking Solutions

Learn how to build, pay forward to, and benefit from strategic networks with these solutions.

1. Attend Cultivating Strategic Networks, part of the Women's Leadership Program, University of New Hampshire, College of Business and Economics, Executive Development Office (Guess who designed and leads this module?)

2. Watch 3Plus International's upcoming calendar of events for our webinar on building strategic networks and alliances.

3. Have your company sponsor a minimentoring event where you and others can get no-work networking and mentoring.

3.5 - Read networking tips from Dorothy Dalton.

What commitment will you make to build your network?

Dr. Anne Perschel Subscriber
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