Here’s a New Year’s quiz for you: What’s the most essential ingredient for success as a professional in transition and for career-minded individuals?

Answer: Long-term genuine relationships.

As a student of relationships, I decided to interview someone I admire, Carol Olsby, a global human resources expert. Carol is very successful in her career, but more importantly, she’s known for her ability to build deep, long-term relationships.

Here is a summary of our interview:

Q: Many professionals who are top performers have focused on getting the work done, but not necessarily on building relationships that can benefit their career. What advice would you give these people going forward?

A: It is important for all levels of employees in every profession to continually learn and grow their competencies and also to build long-term relationships. Given this, employees need to manage their careers. I recommend creating a rolling five-year career plan. By doing this, you determine gaps in your career and then you identify ways in which to close those gaps. This can be achieved through on-the-job opportunities, mentoring, seminars, reading, online courses, associations, volunteering and campus classes.

When building your career, it is important to understand that all relationships are very important. I have a philosophy that companies will come and go, however, our colleagues will remember us by how we treated them and for the work we contributed to the company. This is your reputation, and it is important to have a very good one. When you have this philosophy, you will see people as long-term investments. If you agree with this philosophy, you will be mindful of your interactions with people versus being transactional. This will also mean that you will periodically keep in touch with people who you have met, worked with or who have supported you through your career. With the many technology communication tools, there is no excuse not to keep in touch.

Q: When connecting with others, what are some do’s and don’ts you’ve either experienced or pursued yourself that have been helpful to you?

A: First, you need to have the general philosophy that long-term relationships are essential in your business and personal life. As such, relationships require an investment. As an employee, this requires that I treat my co-workers in a respectful and caring way, have a positive attitude each and every day and deliver on my commitments. People want to work with colleagues who have good attitudes, who are competent and deliver. Make sure that is the way people think of you by your daily actions.

As an example, if your company was not doing well, they are more inclined to keep the employees with good attitudes, who are helpful to others and deliver on their commitments than those who don’t. Make an investment in your colleagues by understanding that we are more than our work. Decide to make an investment in your co-workers and pay them a compliment, ask them about their weekend, etc., before jumping straight into a work topic. Focus on building friendships at work.

In my next post, I’ll review Carol’s thoughts around networking and tips that professionals in transition can use right away to take advantage of the network they’ve already built. Adopting this growth mindset can change our careers in 2011 and for many years to come.

Live Seminars in December

The Career Search Excellence seminar is packed with only the hottest tips and tricks for professionals seeking a new opportunity – giving you a competitive edge over the competition. The seminar is free (sponsored) and there are three dates to choose from in December.
  • December 5 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 8 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 10 (Bellevue, WA)
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