As of the end of 2016, China has now more dollar billionaires than the US. Is this due solely to discipline and intense business negotiations?
Or could it be the result of a small difference in their business perspective?
It is said that the world of business is governed by three rules: law, logic and relationships. In Western cultures, law comes first and relationships last. But in the East, relationships come first, followed by logic and law.
How can this help if you want to stand out at work?
Our Chinese billionaires use their relationships for guidance, inspiration and connection. This is what makes them successful.
You can do the same. Let’s list the types of relationships that will make you stand out at work.
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A mentor to focus on your strengths
A mentor is a wise advisor who will help you explore your potential and could even uncover your hidden talents.
A mentor can help you stand out at work by boosting your self-confidence and helping you improve your soft skills. For example, they can offer practical tips, such as how to make strategy real in the day to day, or how to suggest an idea to your boss.
A mentor’s gift is to help you focus on your strengths, and show you how to navigate the path of progression and influence.
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If your company doesn’t provide mentoring opportunities, you can still find yourself a mentor. An honest person who can share their experience and give an independent perspective on what you want to achieve makes the best mentor!
A connector to expand influence
What would you do if you had no one to introduce you to the right people?
If you only develop one type of relationship, choose connectors. You can be coached by an expert, and emulate your mentor as much as you can…but if you don’t have anyone to expose you to the people who can really help, you will stay where you are now.
Connectors have a direct influence over your reputation. Through their contacts, they have the power to expand your area of influence.
To connect to connectors, you need your best communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to build positive relationships. There’s a good reason why they are so popular; they know people’s business inside-out!
A role model to show “what good looks like”
Learning by imitation is an effective way to stand out at work. You just need to figure out “what good looks like”, observe and get inspired by a role model.
You can choose your role models for very specific things. It could be the way they conduct meetings, the way they celebrate their successes, or how they get their teams to respond to critical situations.
A relationship with a role model is more than just observing someone you admire for a specific skill or behaviour. It’s a journey of mutual exploration; they can act as your sounding board, and give you feedback on your progress.
An expert to go from good to great
An expert can help you stand out at work in one simple way – by taking your skills from good to great.
If you have the opportunity to spend time with someone who has mastered their craft, you will be amazed at how quickly you progress.
Not only are experts the best at what they do, they can challenge yourself and coach you in a way that makes it accessible. Remember, they didn’t get there in a day, so you will learn as much from their journey as you will from their skills.
A fixer to resolve tiny worries
I heard about fixers for the first time on a flight to the middle-east, when a war reporter explained me how he could do his job in places like Baghdad, Iraq.
Fixers are local correspondents who help make arrangements on the ground; people with the last bit of information, and the right connections. In the workplace, a fixer could be a PA who can get you in the diary of a stakeholder, or that IT guy who will fast-track your request to the top of the list.
Even though a fixer won’t advance your career, they can sort you out when you encounter unexpected challenges. Fixers help you take risks safely. They can eliminate a lot of uncertainty in your day to day, which helps to ensure consistency in your work. And consistency will make you stand out at work for one reason – it’s the seed for productivity.
A work “bestie” to chill out
Life in the office is not always fun (nor easy).
We are all humans. Sometimes, all we need is playing to relax, a coffee, and the kind words of a mindful colleague.
Even if you work in a super competitive environment, I encourage you to find one or two buddies to hang out with. You can share the good and the bad with them. They can give you an honest perspective on yourself, put things back in context, and move you away from the emotional when need be.
You can’t take it all on your shoulders when things don’t go according to plan.
Check out the Slideshare version!
If you want to stand out at work and create your own opportunities, you need to go beyond training and excelling in the remit of your job.
Building meaningful interactions is essential. It gives you the opportunity to progress and get noticed. Not only that, it sets you on the right track for leadership roles, where your success relies on your ability to connect and influence.
What’s the one relationship that has helped you reach a higher level? Share in the comments!