Sales Strategy & Planning Manager
"I have experienced three corporate reorganizations. Because the only consistent thing is change, it’s important to understand how to navigate transition.
During one restructure, my manager suggested I reach out to a senior leader. I needed to understand how he adapted to the last change — and how I could position myself for success moving forward.
Most people inherently want to help others, but you need to be realistic in what you ask. I learned to ask not for an hour of someone’s time, but for 10 or 15 minutes to learn their thoughts about the business and the company. I learned to come prepared with key questions — and ways I could help them. As a result, I established a new sponsor and a mentor who has been a candid and confidential sounding board.
And while it’s important to have mentors talk with you and sponsors to talk about you, there’s a third important group — advocates who can endorse you. They may not be decision makers, but they can be influencers on your behalf. Advocates can be peers, industry counterparts or cross-functional teammates. They can speak about your performance, skill set, work ethic and character.
I urge emerging leaders to build healthy connections if they want to take their careers to the next level. Too often, people don’t ask a question because they worry about appearing uninformed or feel intimidated. But my mantra is, ‘The worst they can say is no, so you may as well ask.'"