Research shows that women spend all their time and energy doing their work and getting great results. We do not see the importance of spending time to network with others and build key relationships. As a result, we do not have access to the privileged information about “the rules of the game” which we need to navigate the workplace successfully. We do not have access to the influential networks where key decisions are made. We rely on the traditional methods of receiving information. Most of the time, we get this information too late to be able to use it to our benefit.
For instance, you wait patiently until new positions are posted. The reality is that many times these jobs have already been promised to others and the company is simply going through the motions of interviewing candidates. Has this ever happened to you?
It happened to Shereen and she was blindsided.
I was highly qualified for the position for which I posted. I had full support from my direct supervisor who reached out to others on my behalf. I executed the interview well. I definitely had the background to supersede the other candidate. But then I found out from behind the scenes that the VP went to the Hiring Director and told them to hire the other person because it was her third time interviewing for the job. And so, they went with that person because they were uncomfortable going against the grain fearing some backlash and knowing that there was a reorganization on the horizon.
In other words, there were politics going on in the background that Shereen was unaware of at the time. The lesson here is the more you are tapped into the information networks, the less likely you will be blindsided, and the greater the likelihood of knowing about new openings before they are formally posted. The information you receive ahead of time about job opportunities gives you the advantage of letting others know of your ambition and getting their feedback on how to move forward and how to best position yourself for the promotion.
Another example is when you read a job description and believe that you are qualified and meet the requirements for the position. What you don’t know is what is involved in the decision making process; who owes who favors; who will influence these decisions; in other words, the politics? The only information you have is the formal job description. But what will it really take to secure this new position? You’re in the dark.
Here’s the lesson. When you rely on the traditional means of getting information, you miss the boat time and time again. You don’t want to appear too pushy or too ambitious and so you continue to wait; live by what you think are the rules of the game. But your refusal to be proactive and political results in you being the last one to know what’s really going on.
Don’t set yourself up to be blindsided. Make it your intention to find out how decisions are made and who makes them. Build relationships with the key stakeholders and influencers and let them know your value proposition; how you contribute to positive business outcomes.
If you follow what you think are the “rules of the game” and wait for job postings and the qualifications for the position, you will find yourself behind the eight ball. The job may have already been promised to someone else. You will miss the opportunity to use your influence with decision makers and let them know you are the best person for the job.