HBR: To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships

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This is a typical Harvard Business Review about networking. If you go over the last 50 years of HBR issues, you'll find that about every 3rd issue, they post an article on the value of networking. 

For example, in the Jan 2007 HBR article How Leaders Create and Use Networks, they wrote, “When (an exec got promoted) improving his network was the last thing on his mind. The main problem he faced was time. … Networking, which (he) defined as the unpleasant task of trading favors with strangers, was a luxury he could not afford. … we’ve found that networking — creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information — is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address. … Not surprisingly, for every manager who instinctively constructs and maintains a useful network, we see several who struggle to overcome this innate resistance. Yet the alternative to networking is to fail — either in reaching for a leadership position or in succeeding at it.”

In two weeks at our Portland Oregon Regional Conference (which is sold out and closed to registration) we will meet a large group of people we have never met before, nor have they met one another. Out of this networking will come confidence and new relationships.

For example, on a recent trip visiting a long time AAPN member, a high ranking industry veteran, they shared a great example with me. Over attending many meetings, they had come to know someone so far removed from them in the supply chain that neither would sell to or buy from the other. Yet, they had chemistry out of which grew a friendship. What this meant was that each talked to the other about brands and retailers they each served from their link in the chain. Each got an entirely different perspective on the customer, and the opportunity. They now carve out time together at every AAPN event.

My personal growth plan is summarized by the initials MAP. M is for mastery; A is for autonomy; P is for purpose. I found them all here at AAPN. I'm retired from the Air Force and retired from the IBM Corporation but I can barely recall either because the true joy of passion has been right here. It is the most you can wish for anyone and fortunately for you, the AAPN one place for you to "Be Happier at Work, (and) Invest More in Your Relationships

To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships
HBR: JULY 30, 2019

What’s the secret to a fulfilling career? Most advice focuses on finding purpose and satisfaction in your work. If you can just land the perfect job doing meaningful work, you’ll finally be happy. But my research across a wide range of organizations and industries shows that our understanding of what leads to professional satisfaction is often misplaced.People tend to overestimate the importance of the what when they should be focusing on the who.

In interviews with a diverse group of 160 people from a variety of industries and positions, my colleagues and I found again and again that flourishing in your career depends as much on your relationships, both in and out of work, as it does on your job itself. People whose work is mundane or demanding are just as likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled as those with fun or inspiring jobs if they proactively invest in relationships that nourish them and create a sense of purpose.

The importance of relationships is backed up by research. Studies show that social connections play a central role in fostering a sense of purpose and well-being in the workplace. They also impact the bottom line: Effective management of social capital within organizations facilitates learning and knowledge sharing, increases employee retention and engagement, reduces burnout, sparks innovation, and improves employee and organizational performance.

As part of our Connected Commons research initiative, exploring the link between personal networks and professional success, my colleagues and I have talked to hundreds of people about how they transformed their careers and their lives through relationships. One of the stories that stuck with me came from Gail, a senior executive at a technology company. Gail reached a turning point when she was hospitalized for six weeks, in part due to stress from work. A friend from church gently reminded her, “You know this is not what life’s all about, right?” Read More