Building a Network for those who Hate Networking with Zella King


Financial Times HQ, London. February 2nd 2017

Academic research shows that it tends to be harder for women to have a strong network and here’s why:

– the force of numbers: the top is dominated by men who are likely to seek out and promote people who are like them e.g. other men

– women are less likely to use their network connections for their own advantage

– women are afraid to be seen as too pushy because success and likeability are seen as being positively correlated with men and negatively correlated with women

Here is what we learned about what it means to use your network to get ahead:

– 20 per cent of the time you should be out there meeting people

– think about the three categories of people in your personal boardroom: those who can bring you power, those who can bring you information and those who can help you develop

– if you’re not telling your sponsor what you achieved, someone else will be telling your sponsor what they achieved

– ask people for help with a specific question (avoid “will you be my mentor?”). They will be likely more willing to meet you on a specific topic.

– think about who are the people who shape decisions outside the meeting room; try and have the “meeting before the meeting”

– if someone says no to your request for help, you’re still in the same position. Therefore there is only upside to asking, as they might say yes.

– which role do you fill for others in their personal boardroom? It’s a two-way process.

Further reading: Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time by Jeffrey Pfeffer

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