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Inside Networking and the Essential Elements of Success

There is always an element of serendipity to success. You have to be in the right place at the right time when the right opportunity comes along. However, to be successful in the modern corporate world you need more than just luck. You have to get three things right:

  1. You have to do good work.
  2. You have to be doing the right work.
  3. You have to be visible.

Inside networking is critical in all three areas.

First “no man is an island.” This was never more true in the ever more complex world of the modern workplace. Building relationships across your organization helps you create a network of knowledge that will enhance the work that you do. There will be pockets of information held by key people, that you will need to be successful. Without them, your work would be, at most, mediocre. Knowing who to call and where to find information differentiates you and your team. It will make your best work possible. That is, building a web of relationships inside your organization is essential for doing good work.

Second, you will know who and what is important in the organization. Understanding what people are working on, their drivers, and their constraints, shapes both what you do now and in the future. This helps ensure that you are working on the right things — i.e. the things that the organization needs and values. That is, being well connected helps you do the right work.

Finally, you will be visible. People need know you, and know of you. This doesn’t just happen. It takes persistent and deliberate effort. It’s not uncommon for the marketing budget of a big Hollywood movie to at least as large as the production budget. It is not enough to make a great movie. People also need to know about it. So it is with our work: you must be visible.

On a personal note, being more visible is the one thing I wish I had learned much earlier in my career. In the early days I put all my effort into doing good work. I did not make enough investments in getting to know other people and understanding what they were working on. I remained invisible for far too long.

Next Steps

  • Review my article on Inside Networking. It has the ins and outs of how and why to build a network inside your organization, who to network with, and what questions to ask.
  • Read Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers, and the Art of Networking. The material in this article became chapter 25 in the book.
  • Pull up the company directory, or dig out the org chart, and start networking inside your company.

Update June 27, 2019. Originally published September 4, 2014

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