Expanding my network shrunk my world

A few weeks ago, I ended the week on a high. Why? Two video calls boosted my spirits and prompted me to make a simple change.

Two calls sparked the change

Call noteThe first was a morning skip-level video call with my manager’s manager to discuss a new assignment. I was surprised when he asked a personal question: “How are you doing?” My short reply (“very well, thanks”) didn’t cut it; I realized that this meeting was also a “check in” with me. I elaborated on what it was like working among my new office mates (my family) and enjoyed sharing how I let my teen know when she could enter my office. Less than five minutes was all it took to set the stage for good feelings throughout the day.

The second call I had was with one of my mentors, someone I’ve known for most of my career. She and I worked together and have stayed in touch, although it has been difficult lately with living in different time zones. Receiving her call, out of the blue, and catching up was a nice boost.

These two calls made me realize that now, more than ever, I needed to stay close to those in my own network. I recalled how last year a former colleague posted on LinkedIn immediately after I had connected with him. He wrote, “Check in with your mentors, I guarantee you they can help. Just checked in with one of mine; it was enlightening and empowering.” I knew I needed to get in touch with my network and be “enlightening and empowering” to others.

Small changes, big results

lynn portraitI reached out to someone who was new to my company. Working remotely when you’re four months into a new job likely wasn’t easy! Taking a page out of my skip-level meeting, I started our call by asking how she was doing and used the opportunity to share a little about myself. The time flew by and together we came up with a plan to build her network.

I recently had another week end on a high as well. I had a video call with another senior leader at my company, as suggested by a mutual colleague. We’d done the “schedule shuffle” for a few months. It was energizing to make a personal connection and discover both educational and professional parallels.

This may not seem like a lot, but making personal connections has been positive for me during these past few weeks. Along with many at Vanguard, I have embraced our strong networking culture and enjoyed with individuals in person in our galleys (cafeterias). In this “virtual new world,” I’m making new connections and rekindling with colleagues from the past, without an impact on my schedule.

This change has strengthened and expanded my network and has made the world seem a bit smaller.

Note: I’ve been thinking of writing an article on networking and this COVID-19 era of working remotely seemed like the right time to publish it. Thanks for following!

—Lynn E.

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