Career Tip #3: It’s WHO You GET TO Know


You’ve heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I believe that’s mostly true…knowledge without accomplishment is invisible. I think who you know and what you accomplish are equally important. You want to know the right people who can appreciate your accomplishments!

But more to the point, it’s important who you GET to know. You may know many people, but are they the right people. And further, do you have a deep, trusting relationship with the right people? Who will go out of their way to help you? Who wants to help you? How much do they know about you? What sound bytes will they share? How influential are they? Who is in their circle of influence?

Then ask yourself, how do you invest your limited networking and relationship-building time. Like a portfolio of investments, time in the right people will pay off like money in the right stocks. 

It’s important to get to know people who share a similar set of values, principles and characteristics to which I aspire. Grow your network and career around people with high integrity, good work ethic, grounded perspective, and a history of success. Prioritize your time to help others in this ‘bulls eye’ of influence and characteristics that are headed in the direction you want to head.

There are a handful of high integrity, P&L grounded, middle-brained, pragmatic, big thinkers that I’ve worked for and with. They’ve had success and talent follow them wherever they go. I’ve prioritized my time to get to know them better, foregoing time with powerful yet ego-driven, political micro-managers that I’ve also worked for and with. I want to invest my time in relationships and a growing circule of influence with who I will want around me in the future, and vice versa. I believe the first set of people is much more likely to see long-term success. And moreover, as my career follows that set of people, I’ll enjoy the journey so much more.

2 Responses

  1. This is a great post, and a great series – I look forward to the 12 – 17 future posts on your career tips.
    The reason I like this post so much is because it focuses on the strength and quality of a relationship, not so much building a massive list of network contacts with e-mail addy’s and phone numbers. Focusing on the important relationships and investing in them is key to personal career management as well as success in business, regardless of your role.
    Glad to have found your blog 🙂

  2. Ideas for Impact #9: Getting Recognition to Help Career Advancement

    Robert Nardelli, the former CEO of retailing giant Home Depot, offered great career advice in a CEO Series interview at the Stern School of Business, New York University, in 2003. Here is a video and a transcript of his interview.
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