Your performance is dependent on the type of network you have.
Working for investment banks is not for the faint of heart. Workweeks of 100+ hours involving all-night sessions and meals at desks in order to complete heavy loads of difficult work have long been the lot of this industry’s professionals.
To thrive and not merely survive, however, junior investment bankers have to earn the trust and respect of colleagues and clients if they are to be given the chance to trade important stocks or to have their own customers.
A strong support network is vital in helping junior employees excel at their work and curb the risks of making mistakes as they learn on the job in a fast-moving business environment. The importance of this network is apparent in the career advice of a former head of proprietary trading at Bank of America Merrill Lynch: “Ask every single other person on the planet for help before you go back to your manager.”
In my paper “Homophily and Individual Performance”, published in Organization Science, co-authored with Charles Galunic of INSEAD and Gokhan Ertug and Tengjian Zou of SMU, we find that building a support network of people like you can enhance your performance in such an environment.
You may be really happy in your job and that’s great. But if a recruiter calls or a friend tips you off to a great position that fits your skills, are you ready to pursue it? If so, is your resume current? Are you constantly connecting with people in case a better opportunity presents itself?
Often, we get comfortable (a.k.a. lazy) in our current positions and don’t think about what might be next for us on the ladder of success. But you never know when your dream job will come along—or when you might lose the one you have. Here are five reasons why you should be always be seeking out new opportunities and laying the groundwork for your next career move: Continue reading →
In online and real-world networking, the same principle applies: You never know when you might make a crucial connection.
Social networks are like any other social environment: No two have exactly the same standards of acceptable behaviour. For good reasons, most of us would think twice before granting a Facebook friend request from a stranger. And since the workplace tends to have more rigid social standards than other areas of life, people commonly assume that their cache of connections on LinkedIn – the leading internet venue for professional networking – should be similarly exclusive, if not more so. Continue reading →
There is an old cartoon I often show to the managers I work with. It portrays a smiling executive team around a long table. The chairman is asking, “All in favor?” Everyone’s hand is up. Meanwhile, the cloud hovering above each head contains a dissonant view: “You’ve got to be kidding;” “Heaven forbid;” “Perish the thought.” It never fails to provoke awkward laughter of self-recognition.
I have a name for this cocktail of deference, conformity and passive aggression that chokes people and teams. I call it violent politeness. Continue reading →
Life is full of negotiations, big and small. We negotiate for raises, we negotiate with clients and providers over prices, and we negotiate for more staff, the best projects, and flex time. (Then we go home and negotiate with our kids about how old you have to be to get your own smartphone.)
To be successful, you really need to know how to negotiate well. But the truth is, this particular skill doesn’t come naturally to many people. This is because a negotiation is an experience that is rife with conflicting motivations. When you haggle with another party over price, you need to somehow reconcile your desire to pay (or be paid) your target amount with your fear that if you push too hard, the negotiation may break down. You might end up empty-handed, humiliated, or out of a job. Negotiations are always gambles, and there is always risk. Continue reading →