Management in any field is a complex combination of actions and behaviors calculated to help advance the interests and goals of the institution. But management also has a personal aspect. People in management are running their careers and not just their organizations. In other words, you must manage your career and your organization. A wise step in achieving both at the same time is to expand your networking. Developing connections within the industry offers a number of benefits:
- Working with peers can present new ways of addressing common issues.
- Connections across organizations helps keep you from sinking into habitual views of the industry and world that otherwise might permeate your current workplace.
- You can start to build alliance with other providers that could aid future strategic moves.
- New professional opportunities may present themselves.
Networking has become an often nebulous term that people use for any contact with others on a professional basis. But to network in a way that is useful requires a more rigorous approach that incorporates principles of building and maintaining that network. The first step is to remember that a network isn’t some mechanical aid to help you get what you want, although it can at times serve that function. The network is actually a collection of relationships you have with people. As such, there are responsibilities you have.
One is to remember that you give before you gain. Treat the network like a vending machine that is supposed to spit out contacts and aid and you won’t get anywhere. People like helping friends and colleagues. They don’t like being used. Offer help and support without expectations of what you are supposed to get in return and you’ll be amazed at what you receive.
You may find it helpful to study relaxation techniques, so you are more yourself, and put aside thoughts of what you might gain. Because these are relationships, you have to treat them as such. You need to understand your own communications style and how you must adapt it to support a relationship. Build them over time. This is not quick return activity, but something to be done for the long haul, so you will have to maintain the relationships. As for where to begin to form these network connections, there are many venues, including the following:
- Industry conferences
- Professional networking groups
- Industry standards committees and working groups
- Gatherings of professional organizations
- Online discussion groups
- Your alma mater’s alumni organization
Whether at such an event or meeting or simply around others, be open to whom you might meet. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.