“Make yourself a hub,” said Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, Reimagining your Future at the TEC forum at Foley and Hoag on February 26. Clark offered four other great strategies for making sure people see, know, and can say a few good words about your distinctive value. I’m not going to give them away because she does that at her website and in her book (links below).
“Organizations naturally develop ruts and siloes,” Clark said. It’s a natural result of getting work done. As teams and functions focus on work, they screen out input that competes with their need to satisfy customers (external and internal) right now. And that opens the door for leaders and contributors who want to create personal competitive advantage.
Hubs are people who remain curious about what’s going on across the siloes and actively develop an authentic network of colleagues, friends, and business buddies. They can be within and should be beyond the organization. This network helps them:
- Interpret different perspectives, including pressures affecting others, metrics and personalities that drive behavior, professional identities that inform at-work values
- Communicate how things get done
- Notice and highlight trends and changes
- Connect influencers across siloes
- Find the other hub people
For leaders in larger organizations, being a hub is practically a necessity. If you want to be a strategic thinker, and you do, you need to think about more than one time frame at a time. Being able to ask good questions about the implications on folks you know in operations and marketing will trigger a real and perceived multiplier effect. You don’t need to have all the answers, but you need to think across the organization both as it is and as it may be. Being the hub will help take you there.
For entrepreneurs, being a hub extends your senses. A challenging part of your role is listening to the rails for the sound of the oncoming train. You want to anticipate the rumble and the roar before others. To do that, you need a wide circle of people who are paying attention to other signals. While you’re listening and reporting for them, they’re helping you notice changes that may have an impact on you, your company, and your prospects. Your network stretches across ruts to sense the emerging future and recognize its current incarnations.
Get more estimable Dorie Clark goodness at www.dorieclark.com. And her book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future is a valuable and brisk read for the transitions when you need to change people’s perception of what you do, how you do it, and how well you are able to do it.