All of us can have situations which are problematic. They can range from minor irritations and something irksome, to outright emergencies. To get out of a hole we might need repairmen, baby sitters or service providers in a wide range of fields. But one area which we woefully neglect is the development of strategic alliances to support an emergency in our own careers.
We all need a ‘Go-To” Top 10. These will be your top 10 top professional connections to whom you can turn in a crisis or even with a problem or a question.
All our requirements are different when we assess who should be include on that list. Broadly speaking there are some general guidelines that apply to us all. There will be variations according to the severity of the situation: whether it’s a little situational glitch, a specific question or something more major requiring a full emergency landing.
- Go-To Top 1 : Do you have a mentor? This would be the senior or elder states person in your professional life who can share their deep experience and wisdom. This will be immediately calming and informative as appropriate, or both.
- Go-To Top 2 : Do you have an internal sponsor? This role will be filled by a confidante, a door opener, someone whose professional status and standing will be sufficiently significant to catalyze responses to calls and emails, or even better to effect introductions to contacts beyond your reach .
- Go-To Top 3, 4 and 5: Do you have external sponsors? See above, but with a wider reach in your geographic region or functional or market sector. Having one for each segment of activity would be even more beneficial. If you have connections in line with your longer term goals so much the better.
- Go-To Top 6: Do you know a super-connector? This will be different for all of us. I count on my super connectors, but in turn fulfill that function for others. They are the ones who say ” Let me think… have you tried …????.”
- Go-To Top 7 Do you know a curator? We all come across the person whose catch phrases are “ have you seen? or ” have you read?” These individuals will be veritable gold mines of information, sometimes obscure, sometimes less so. They will know where to look for any key information on and in the latest emergency and can send you there quickly, thus saving you hours of valuable time.
- Go-To Top 8: Do you have a port in a storm? We all need a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, someone who will be there only for us. Their role is not to advise but perhaps put the kettle on, open a bottle of something cold and white (or warm and red) and just listen neutrally. Very often this role is best fulfilled outside an intimate relationship, although not always.
- Go-To Top 9: Do you have a devil’s advocate? Their role in any Go-To Top 10 is to give you the viewpoint from the other side. Their skill in constructive communication will be peerless as they force us to examine our own roles and responsibilities in any debacle and communicate that to us in a way we can hear . They risk our moods, wrath and petulance or even worse. They are people who know us well.
- Go-To Top 10: Do you have a list of specialists Whether this includes doctors, lawyers, coaches, bank managers , accountants or any other type of professional or technical specialist, it’s always useful to have a full, up to date list of people you can call on. If anyone in a network has no problem being contacted out of the blue after years of neglect, it’s usually because they are charging a significant fee.
Who would you put on your list?