I have been watching the new series on Netflix called Inventing Anna. I haven’t finished the whole series as yet. The episodes I have watched so far have been so full of career lessons that I thought I would share a few today. As I continue with the series, I might come back with a part 2 to this post.
Relationships – One thing to remember is that all things being equal, people want to do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Chase’s (Anna’s boyfriend) ambitions were significantly furthered because Norah in whose house he lived knew him, she liked him and she trusted him. Because of this relationship, Norah introduced Chase to her very influential network.
Bringing this to the corporate world, it also partly explains why some people advance faster than others, the right people know about them and what they can do. One of my Lecturers back in University shared this with my class in his final lecture with us. His exact words were “… you need to know that decisions that impact your career progress will sometimes be made on the golf course. I strongly encourage you to consider taking up golf ” Today my interpretation of those words is different from the one I took when he said that. Back then I took the statement literally. He might as well have meant it exactly the way he said it. Today I interpret it as build your network and ensure decision makers know you.
Excellent work is foundational to getting ahead, but the next step is the right relationships. I am not advocating using people to get ahead (literally what Anna did to Norah). Neither do I support crossing all moral boundaries to get ahead at any cost. I am talking about building genuine relationships that result in people liking you and trusting you enough to want to business with you or mention your name on the golf course 😄😄😄.
Introductions – Because Norah liked and trusted Chase, she took him to all the important functions where he met her rich network and was able to get funding for his app that he was working on. When you get that kind of opportunity to meet people who are willing to back your dream, please do not squander it. Enough said.
It is important at this stage to mention that it really is not just about knowing only supposedly influential people. You will also be surprised how “ordinary” people can literally be king makers. Remember Neff from the series? She worked at the front desk of the hotel Anna was living in. Neff knew a lot of important people and she was able to get Anna onto a lot of databases for exclusive VVIP events in New York. It is perfectly okay to ask your friends, your hairdresser, the receptionist at your workplace, the security guard and and, and to introduce you to their own networks. You will be surprised to learn who the real king makers are.
Mentorship and Sponsorship– Anna managed to get Norah to notice her. Please don’t follow the devious ways that she used to do this. Let your excellent work be such that people take notice and you just cannot be ignored. Norah took Anna on as her protege, showed her the ropes and introduced her to her high powered connections and introduced her as her protege.
Allan Reid who was the lawyer helping Anna to access funds from the banks for her project was like a sponsor to Anna. Sponsors are willing to put their reputation on line and vouch for your excellent work. Allan introduced Anna to many high powered banking officials. Doors she had struggled to unlock on her own, Allan was helping her.
A clear plan of getting to her goal – devious as it might have been, Anna had a clearly mapped out plan of how she was going to realise her ambitions. She knew who she needed to make it happen and exactly how she would get it. You too need to have a clear plan to achieve your goals, except yours should not be devious and land you in jail.
Have you watched Inventing Anna? What other career lessons did you get? Let me know in the comments section.
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