One Of the Best Things You Can Do For Your Career in 2016

Relationships are the new currency in business

(Image: Thinkstock)
(Image: Thinkstock)

Whether you’re ready to get promoted, start a new company, or take your business to the next level, one of the best things you can do for your career is change the way you think about money. Relationships are currency. Carla Harris, vice chairman, senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley and author of Strategize to Win said it best: “Once you have built relationship currency, its power will motivate people to act on your behalf. Relationship currency can give you the ability to request something or some action of someone else, connect to other relationships, and recover from a mistake.”

[RELATED: New Year, New You: 6 Ways to Reinvent Yourself in 2016]

Sadly, many people struggle in their career because they’re focused solely on consuming way too much information through social media, taking classes to advance their skill set, or marketing products and services. The reality is, regardless of your goal, building relationships must be a part of your plan for success. The right relationships can help advance your career. They can help you get a seat at the boardroom table. They can help you with what’s not working, what needs to be prioritized, and the right tools to make success happen. Simply put, if you want to be successful, you can’t do it alone.

So this year, start thinking of your relationships as currency. Set the intention to get social, invest in people, and create meaningful connections with them. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Learn about people beyond their job description — Ask yourself, “How can I learn about the things that matter most to people outside of work?” Don’t be afraid to get curious about people (not in a creepy kind of way, but in an “I care about what happens outside of work” kind of way). Whether it’s asking simple questions about how they spend their weekends and holidays or about their favorite sports team or TV show, find a connection point, show genuine interest, and be consistent.
  • Help others without an obvious payback — Many people struggle with networking because they start the relationship thinking: “What can I get out of this person and how can they help me get ahead?” Try using the service-first attitude. When you meet someone, think, “How can I help this person?”
  • Invest time and add value — Find ways to support the initiatives of things that matter most to your colleagues, share ideas, and work collectively on projects.