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You can get by with a little help from your friends

Nope, this isn’t a post about great Beatles’ songs (not that that would be a bad thing) but more about the power of your network ‘friends.’ It is far too easy to get sucked into our day to day lives of managing our employees, departments and projects. Days and weeks fly by as you experience the ups and downs of your job and working for your current employer. Often the work interactions you have are only with members of your company (or department) and perhaps your customers. These discussions are usually always about the project at hand, specific work deliverables, etc. that are probably causing you, in some cases, great angst or hopefully job satisfaction. The point being, you often never get a chance to look outside of your internal work scope to get a feel for what else is going out there in the” real world” and with your profession. If you are like me, you are often left wondering, “I wonder what others in my profession are thinking/doing/feeling?” “I wonder what their perspective on XYZ subject is?”

Social Network FingersLike many of you, since the start of the New Year, I have been flat out at work in developing project plans, coaching and developing managers, working with my team to fill open requirements and developing retention strategies, etc. You know, the usual HR “stuff” that we all like to do and that I personally am fortunate to get paid to do. However, the challenge is that when you add into that mix all the company and operational related challenges that you are faced with, along with the regular organizational and employee challenges you face every day, you sometimes get that feeling of HR burnout coming on. Personally, I think it is just the ebb and flow of work and life as we try and balance our challenges and meet our goals – which are why our companies pay us a salary! Lately though, I have been feeling a bit “stale” in terms of my creativity and my attachment to my profession and wasn’t sure what to do about it.

Fortunately for me, I have a great network of contacts that I have developed over the years on LinkedIn and Twitter and I have been pretty active in terms of sharing, advising and assisting various folks in my network over the years. Over the past few weeks, I decided to make it a point to pick up the phone and have some discussions with various folks from my network. This covered the gamut from folks I used to work with, people I met at conferences, etc. or even people I have connected with on Twitter. I have to admit, it was great to touch base, see what people were up to and to talk shop a bit about their challenges, compare notes, relate and do some problem solving. When you hear that your network is going through the same ups and downs as you, you don’t quite feel so “down” or frustrated and brainstorming the challenges can be a great way to gain some perspective and move forward.

The other experience I had this week that helped give me a kick start was that someone from my Twitter network (whom I have never met or spoken to before) reached out to me to discuss a new business venture they were pursuing and they wanted to get some neutral perspective on their service offering and brand proposition. I have to tell you, I am really glad they reached out and that we had that meeting! We had an engaging 60 minute conversation and discussed many aspects and challenges around organizational design, training, diversity, performance management and company culture. It was great to talk shop, get my head out of the ground and bounce ideas around with this person. The simple fact that I got a chance to connect with someone from Twitter (we ‘follow’ each other) also showed me the power of social media and my network. After exchanging ideas and talking shop for over an hour with this person, I was stoked! Call me a bit of an HR geek, but it was really exciting to connect and exchange ideas in the world of HR with another forward thinking HR Pro.

What is the point of all this? Well, for me, the fact that I had invested and built my network, and when I reached out to it (or it reached out to me) I was able to see the whole other world out there and it really re-energized me! Connecting, communicating, talking shop and leveraging the power of social media all came together and culminated in a great week for me. My advice to other professionals is that if you get in a similar rut, then reach out to your network. Make sure you have invested in your network each day/month, etc. – give, share and connect…then, when you need your network, it will be there for you and it is my hope that it can re-energize you the way that my network re-energized me.  What about you?  Have you been feeling this way at all? What do you do to get re-energized?  How do you leverage the power of your network?  Have a great weekend everyone.

Image courtesy of basketman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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