Professional networking sharpens leadership skills and has a positive impact on your overall career success. Many CFOs focus only on immediate challenges, not realizing the value of investing in their professional networks. The implications of neglecting your network, or worse, not building one at all, are far-reaching and negatively impact your long-term career goals.
In a recent article on CFO.com, John Touey, Principal of Salveson Stetson Group, discussed how a close circle of trusted colleagues helps sharpen your leadership skills and offers insights and advice—especially in a volatile market. Professional networking ensures that leaders have the support they need to overcome any challenge.
Connecting with peers is critical for any executive, but it’s essential for CFOs. In our fast-paced, ever-changing world, it’s impossible to know everything and even more challenging to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why connecting with peers is so important. When CFOs come together to discuss the issues that affect their companies, they can share best practices and gain insights they otherwise would not have.
Beyond that, professional networks provide a valuable resource for CFOs to turn to when they need advice or perspective on an issue. By engaging with their peers, CFOs can bring helpful new experiences and perspectives back to their companies.
Reasons Why Networking is Important
A solid professional network can be the difference between success and failure in today’s competitive marketplace. Every savvy businessperson knows, “It’s not just what you know, but who you know.” This is particularly true for CFOs. Over the long term, building a robust network of contacts can lead to new job opportunities and board positions.
While social media and technology have made connecting with potential employers and colleagues easier, personal referrals and introductions from trusted contacts still have considerable influence on landing a top job. CFOs who fail to cultivate a broad network of contacts are missing out on an important avenue for career advancement. To get you on the right track, Touey offers these five tips to grow your professional network:
1. Be Intentional in Your Professional Networking
Be strategic about your networking, who you connect with, and what you want to accomplish through those relationships.
2. Keep it Informal
Stuffy business conferences can be intimidating, and trying to network at them can be even more daunting. Start with a friendly conversation and nurture that new friendship over time.
3. Use Your Service Provider Contacts
Leaning into your service provider network helps you get exposure to a broader network of professionals. Trusted representatives can often make a warm introduction to key leaders in your industry.
4. Invest in Creating Trust within Your Network
Professional networking is a two-way relationship. Be open and willing to share your knowledge, resources, and insights as well.
5. Think Long-Term about Your Professional Network
A strong network of leaders in your field can provide you with opportunities, mentors, and connections that can help advance your career.
In today’s competitive job market, investing in your professional network is more important than ever and remains one of your most valuable assets. However, your networking activity should be more than just a self-serving exercise.
While it is imperative to develop relationships with people who can help you achieve your goals, it is equally as essential to be a supportive member of your professional network. When you are generous with your time and expertise, you will find that people are more likely to reciprocate.
Over the past few years, we have become more isolated—personally and professionally. But by reaching out to your networks, you can help expand and build your professional peer groups and overcome this obstacle to create lifelong connections.
This is a summary of the article from CFO.com written by John Touey entitled, “5 Ways CFOs Can Invest In and Build Their Network,” originally published September 2, 2022.