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This blog is an attempt to keep my writing interests alive. It is my sincere hope that someone, somewhere will find these interesting, useful and a value to their life, in some small way. I wish everyone that reads my blogs ends up living a full, rich life.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In his book, Emotional Intelligence", Daniel Goleman cites a research that was conducted in AT&T Bell Labs.  I am sure this is a very old experiment and would have been conducted a few decades ago and those that were the subject of this experiment are cooling their heels in Bahamas or some place else.
Anyway, the experimenters wanted to understand what made some people successful and others not, in their careers.  They picked a group of employees with the same caliber, educational background and work experience and followed their progress for a few years. Just to make it a workable experiment they chose people of extremely high academic accomplishments (read Doctorate) as their subjects.
After a couple of years of tracking their progress and behavior they found something interesting.  Naturally, some of the subjects were extremely successful in their careers and others were not.  We will call the successful ones the Dilberts and the others, Dullberts.
Interestingly, what the researches found was that anytime the Dilberts wanted a favor from their colleagues, they got it.  Simple.  Their requests for assistance were immediately honored, their phone calls were immediately returned and - they were liked. However, it was exactly the opposite in case of the Dullberts.  People avoided them, did not return their calls and dodged their requests.
It is evident from the above that one of the parameters that makes us successful, a BIG one at that, is our personal network.  How big and effective our personal network is greatly determines our success.  This concept can be expanded to our personal life too, but it is more relevant in our professional life.
So, how does one build a successful network?
There are obvious things one can do and I am not going to talk about those here.  I am particularly interested in talking about those behaviors that go deeper, that require a high degree of self awareness, that are based on one strong foundation - authenticity.   Of course, inauthentic conduct is a non-starter.  It won't be long before an inauthentic person is exposed.  So, let's just assume that it is a non-issue in our discussion.
I have created an assessment tool that helps one evaluate oneself on one's "Networking Ability".  Anyone can take the test and grade oneself.  I have also given a "Score Key" at the end that will tell you what to look for (in terms of personal development) based on your score.
There is only one requirement to take the test - listen to your heart and be honest in your responses.   Be attentive and make sure that your score reflects your actual behavior and not your "desired" behavior.
I developed this assessment tool during my certification as a Life Coach.  Have other assessment tools too.  An interesting one is an assessment tool to test one's "Learning Ability".  We use these assessment tools in Life Coaching to help us give a window into people's behavior traits that make them dysfunctional.  In case you take this test and think you will benefit from a Life Coaching intervention, and would like to explore more, I can help.
Now for the assessment.
Discover how good you are in connecting with people at work for a successful career growth
Successful Networking is a key requirement for achieving career growth in any organization. Networking refers to your ability to build successful relationships with a diverse set of key people in your organization. It refers to your ability to connect with subordinates, peers, boss(es), stakeholders, key leaders, key influencers, et. al.
Many factors define your ability to build successful working relationships. These range from obvious ones like reaching out consciously to key people in the organization to not-so-obvious ones like the feelings, blocks and trepidation that go with building such relationships.
The assessment tool below will help you gain insights into your ability and disposition towards successful networking.
Take the assessment below to know how effective you are in building successful relationships in your workplace. With this you will be able to understand areas you will need to develop to be successful in networking and in turn, in your career.
Please complete all items. (Select the appropriate Response cell and enter a value).
Rate each item on a scale of 1-5, where 1 = NEVER and 5 = ALWAYS.
S. No.
1I am comfortable with maintaining a conversation even with people I meet for the first time. 
2I seek opportunities to meet key people face to face, even when there is no fixed agenda. 
3I look for opportunities to extend help to others, even if it is in a small way. 
4I do not use my position in the company to coerce other people into agreeing with me. 
5I keep my emotions under check in my conversations at work. 
6I am fully aware of and effectively manage inflections in my voice when dealing with conflict in the workplace. 
7I make conscious effort to respect the individual I am dealing with irrespective of the person's position in the company hierarchy. 
8I make people comfortable when dealing with me. 
9I am adept at picking up the unspoken. 
10I can easily engage in small talk to build rapport with others. 
11I strive to understand people without judging them. 
12I strive to understand people at a personal level, beyond their job roles, at the same time respecting their personal space. 
13I tend to attract people that I can help in some way. 
14I am very effective in identifying and providing development opportunities to others. 
15I reach out to others voluntarily when I notice they are stuck. 
16I am authentic when dealing with others. 
17I use humor effectively at the work place, to build relationships and to break barriers. 
18I use my existing network in the organization with others effectively, to bring outcomes that benefit the company. 
19If I have to, I can disagree in a professional manner, irrespective of the designation of the person I am dealing with, without sounding disrespectful. 
20I make effort to understand the other person's concerns when dealing with conflict. 
21When working on resolving conflicts, I separate the issue from the person effectively. 
22I return 100% of the calls made or emails/messages sent to me, within 24 hours. 
23I do not let past conflicts affect my ability to work with someone. 
24I do not put others down. 
25I reach out to people across the cross section of the company to help them integrate well in the organization. 
In the next section you will see the scoring key.
Networking Ability Test
Score Key
Interpretations of your score
Total Score 81-125
This score indicates a high likelihood that you are networking at an optimal level now. You may be natural in connecting with people and building relationships. Use this understanding of your networking ability to review the level of your success you are achieving in your career. There is still a slight chance that you are not fully aware of all of your strengths or capabilities, not only in the area of networking but also in other areas of leadership – this could be particularly true if you think your level of success is not commensurate with your skills, abilities and contributions to the company. Since you are already well ahead in the curve when it comes to leadership, you could significantly benefit from working with a coach who can help you to build upon your current strengths and create opportunities for success. If you have been considering hiring a professional coach, now is an ideal time to do so. A coach will be fortunate to work with you since you are already such a great leadership personality.
Total Score 41-80
This score indicates a high likelihood that you are a good networking person. You may not be completely familiar with all nuances of networking at your workplace or know exactly how it works, however, you seem to have the natural characteristics that make someone able to build effective relationships at work. We recommend that you do more work to maximize your natural abilities to network through additional research, partnering with peers who you consider good at networking or through working with professional coaches. Many coaches give a free initial session, so you can take advantage of those and find out how coaching can help you further build your networking skills. Please note that assessment results are not100% accurate and can vary depending on your situation, so you may be more effective in networking than this summary describes.
Total Score 1-40
This score indicates a high likelihood that you are not building productive relationships at work. Your answers are not consistent with someone who is considered capable of building and sustaining meaningful relationships at work. This may be because you are not very familiar with the process of connecting with people and how it can benefit you or because you are not taking the effort to establish connection with others in the organization. It is possible that you are someone who is not naturally inclined to establishing rapport with people, though you may be very adept in doing so. Whatever it is that is stopping you from building effective networking in the organization, it is important that you understand the importance of networking and start working towards the same. Networking is a skill that can be easily developed, particularly with help and guidance from others. An effective Leadership coach can help you in this area in particular but also in becoming a strong leader, in general. Consider engaging a coach to develop your abilities in this area to help you achieve the success that you are so capable and deserving of.
Disclaimer: This assessment is not intended to provide a psychological or psychiatric diagnosis and your completion of the test does not indicate a professional counseling or coaching relationship with the creators or administrators of the test.
Certified Personal Transformation Coach
Certified Master Spirit Life Coach

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