When I first came out of college, the word I HATED the most was networking. To me it was laden with slimy schmooziness where people used one another for getting what they wanted. Perhaps it was because I had just come out of college and felt I had everything to gain and nothing to offer.

After working for a while and going back to school, the realization struck me that networking was not about squeezing and taking but could be an authentic beginning to new relationships. When I approached it that way, it seemed more palatable and even desirable. As I moved back into a big corporation, I realized how important it was to network, but not in the typical sense. I learned that every person I met within my company was a chance to meet someone new and also find opportunities to grow in my career.

Mitch Joel from TwistImage talks about some simple ways where we can be more effective in our careers. I think his points can easily be applied to your current workplace situation:

Give Abundantly – This means passing on information that you think others would find interesting or be helpful to what they are doing. I shared many links with other teams to help them keep up to date with their industry.

Help Others – Helping others enables you to seize opportunities to not only empower others but also lets other people know that you’re interested in their area, so that when it comes time to expand you can be in their mind.

Relationships – Finding what you need in the workplace to get things done is a lot easier when relationships are in place. Many times, relationships start with just the seed of a conversation watered by giving abundantly and helping others.

Forget the schmoziness when it comes to networking, and bring your true self because that’s the only way networking can get done.

For more reading on networking, check out Networking Insight by Jason Jacobsohn.

–Holly

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Lance at YourHRGuy writes,

The number of times that I’ve asked someone for a major professional accomplishment and they’ve stumbled and given me a really poor answer is way too high for what it should be… So start documenting success and failures at work. Big ones, little ones, progressive gains, educational achievements, positive feedback from co-workers, negative feedback from bosses…

Isn’t it true? Despite years of hard work and making great contributions to the company, most people never document their successes in the workplace. When it comes time for a review or promotion (not just when job hunting), having a record of your accomplishments could prove quite valuable.

Worksona lets everyone who works at your company document their accomplishments since joining the company. By building their profile page, co-workers share the projects, products, and campaigns they’ve worked on.

In addition, Worksona lets employees ask co-workers for acknowledgements on each specific project or initiative. Over time, your Worksona profile becomes a very valuable record of your achievements!

Almost every employee has ideas for improvement–of products, of processes, and everything in between. Sometimes employees in big companies know who to talk to to effect change. But often, those thoughts and ideas get lost in the fray, and the innovative idea never comes to fruition.

Worksona discussion forums were specifically designed to facilitate this kind of communication that is often lost within large organizations.

Worksona discussion forums allow people within your company to:

  • share your thoughts and get feedback from others at your company,
  • ask questions and get help from your co-workers,
  • share good articles, links, or websites with your co-workers, and
  • discuss ideas with co-workers who want to start or join an interest group.

Worksona allows employees to connect and help each other in ways never before possible!

At the heart of many workplace organizations is the unspoken mantra: value knowledge first – then people.

Before starting Worksona, I worked at a company like this. The result was that I felt very much like a cog in a machine, a number, and was completely miserable. People would get burned out, and were easily replaced when gone. I left before a year was up.

At the heart of any workplace organization should be a high valuation on people, because people and relationships are the foundation of any organization. Work doesn’t get done without human hands. It is through people that knowledge flows.

If that were to happen, social networking tools might become just as important as document repositories. Steve Roessler at All Things Workplace put it best when he said:

I find social networking tools more natural and conversational than emails. Sort of the difference between telling people a real story and showing them bullet points on Powerpoint.

… that’s what happens when you put people first.

– Holly

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Most people would agree networking that within your company is important for career success. But how do you do that? Networker Jason Jacobsohn in an article suggests:

  • Attending company events
  • Helping others
  • Joining a committee

These methods are all tried and true…and have been for decades. But how can web services help? At most, companies usually only have an arcane company directory.

Worksona has developed a service specifically designed to help people who work for big companies network with their company. When you join Worksona, you can:

  • Browse the profile pages of everyone at your company
  • Invite co-workers to join your company network
  • Meet co-workers in specific offices or on specific projects
  • Find a mentor or mentee
  • Meet co-workers interested in starting an interest group
  • Find co-workers interested in playing sports after work

Worksona allows you to find the people you want to meet more powerfully than ever before. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

David Zinger writes a pithy statement:

If it is to be it is up to me

He then changes that last word from me to “we,” and all of a sudden it becomes more powerful and encompassing.

Finding success in the workplace is dependent on relationships and connections. While it’s true that initiative begins with the individual, it is when we branch out that more success (for yourself and colleagues) in the workplace can be achieved. You can think of it as a cycle moving from me to we and back to me.

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The NY Times talks about this cycle. And as the focus moves towards “we”, it brings better chances for individual success:

“Focus on ‘we,’ not ‘me,’ ” Mr. Snodgrass (an HR Exec at Exceleron) said. “Individuals will have a better chance of receiving kudos for their work if they put their egos on the shelf and emphasize how the outcome was the result of a team effort.”

It is fitting that David Zinger ends his post by recognizing others and branching out… a great example to moving from me to we to gain workplace success.

– Holly

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Ever wonder how to get more credit for the work you do? The New York Times ran a great article about applauding your peers in the workplace as the best way to get recognition yourself. My old friend Steve, truly the nicest human being you’d ever come across, exemplified Matt Villano’s point.

Steve never talked about himself. When asked to report on the progress of his sales team, Steve would say in meetings

Josh sold a $65K contract Monday, 2 weeks ahead of plan. Mari did an outstanding job on XYZ. My guys really went to the mat this last week…

…even though Josh and Mari were not at the usual Monday sales meeting. Of course, when Josh and Mari were present, he would heap double doses of praise on his team. The net effect was that everybody always attributed accomplishments to Steve S’s wonderful leadership. There was even a time when my group closed a minor $100K telecom contract, and it was initially attributed to Steve!

Steve was a good friend, and an even better role model. Today, I am passionate about building a service that can help people publicly recognize others for their great contributions in teams. You have the opportunity to make those around you feel great and motivated; but ironically, you may just be the biggest benefactor in the end.

-Kevin