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5 Key People You Need In Your Network

Building a powerful network for success

by Jo Miller  |  6269 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Everyone knows that building a network of relationships across your organization and industry can connect you with hidden information, resources and opportunities. Having a great network makes it easier to get your job done, and guarantees you'll never need to search for a job again (it will find you).

Is it time to give your network a tune-up? Consider building relationships with five key types of people.

1. The Connector

The connector is a true ‘people person’ who knows (and has great relationships with) everyone. They put others at ease. This person loves to opens doors & make introductions. Watch them, and learn!

2. The Informational Powerhouse

This person is like a human ‘grapevine’. They love to keep a finger on the pulse, and stay current on organizational issues. They filter useful information from gossip or ‘noise’, and know about changes before they occur. Seek them out when you need to know about new trends, ideas, projects, opportunities, etc, before they become official.

3. The Influencer

The influencer is not necessarily a high-level or high-profile leader, but they have a natural ability to make things happen. They get people on board with ideas and initiatives, gain agreement and collaboration from teams, and they have a voice with senior leadership. Their early support can guarantee the success of your initiatives, and their advocacy can get you noticed.

4. The Senior Leader Sponsor

These are your manager’s peers, and above, and they have the power to dramatically accelerate your career. Interacting with them frequently can help you align your work effort with your organization’s strategic goals. They have the ability to single you out for recognition, and connect you to special projects, task forces and committees, and new opportunities for growth

5. The Mentor

Need I say more?

The mentor is a special category of senior leader sponsor.

While most women rely on their mentor to advise them on how to navigate situations at work, consider asking your mentor to give you honest feedback and critique on how you are doing, and how you come across. Many of the senior-level women I coach can trace their career advancement back to a turning point, where a mentor advised them on something they needed to be doing differently.

I often observe men using their mentors differently than women do -- they are more proactive about asking their mentor to sponsor them. Consider asking your mentor to actively open doors, and connect you with opportunities.


About the Author

Jo Miller is CEO Women's Leadership Coaching Inc. To learn more about coaching and seminars, visit

Read more by Jo Miller

4 comments so far...

  • thanks for the help

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by carrie on 21st November 2007

  • Yes - seize any and all opportunities! Arrive at meetings early and stay late, for small talk. Request to schedul 20-minute informationals with senior level leaders, to ask for mentoring advice, and how you can get to know their business and goals better. Attend company picnics, etc, and ask people about their families, hobbies, etc. Participate in activites (eg join a charity drive or volleyball team) if your key people are involved. Seize opportunities to be on special tasks forces/committees, where you will get to work closely with them, or present to them.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jo Miller on 16th November 2007

  • i totally agree - but the hard part is initiating these relationships to begin with! if you dont already have somethign in common (that you know about) it's very difficult to just randomly strike up a meaningful and mutually helpful relationship... any tips?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 16th November 2007

  • I really like the way you break these down - and I'd like to add that I think you need some of these more than others at certain times in your career. But maintaining relationships with these people in your network is key -- I recently got an introduction from one of my connectors that was invaluable!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 16th November 2007