Your Political Balance Sheet

October 8, 2012 in Career and Job Search Tips



How is a run for the White House like your quest for career development?

To succeed in either endeavor, you need the right people in your corner.

When it comes to furthering your food & beverage career, having the right mentors, sponsors and advocates on your side can mean the difference between stagnation and success:

Mentors.  In today’s fast-paced operating environment, a mentor can expedite your career development by giving you opportunities to learn, and apply that learning, more quickly.  By adding a mentor to your personal “political balance sheet,” you can accelerate your growth and successfully navigate the sometimes tricky waters of organizational politics.

Sponsors.  These key influencers and decision makers have the connections and authority to elevate you in your career.  They know the right people, and create (or hear about) the right opportunities, to quickly get you to the next level.

Advocates.  As the name suggests, these people are your personal brand champions.  They know who you are, know what you do and talk to others on your behalf.

A strong relationship with a professional advocate increases your exposure (and career development) exponentially – by spreading good words about you even when you’re not around.  And as everyone knows, having a respected colleague extolling your virtues is much more powerful than you tooting your own horn.

It’s one thing to know that you need people like these in your corner; it’s quite another, however, to develop and execute an action plan to make it happen.  Here are a few tips from Kinsa to get you started:

Turn a dispassionate eye to your personal “political balance sheet.”  At this very moment, who is likely to “vote for you” and help you attain your career aspirations?  Take stock of who you know – and the types of people you need to know – to fast-track your career development.

Neutralize threats.  None of us is perfect.  Along the way, we make mistakes in our careers and occasionally burn bridges.  Instead of blaming yourself, develop a plan of attack.

Make a list of individuals who may jeopardize your career success or speak negatively about you when you’re not there to defend yourself.  Contact them – instead of avoiding them – and find out how you can mend fences by helping them.  These individuals may not become your “table pounders,” but at least you can keep them from sabotaging your promotions.

Start making the right connections.  At the end of the day, advancing your food & beverage career is often as much about who you know as what you know.  So develop a systematic plan for meeting those people who can make a difference in your career.  Set networking goals, become involved, offer help, and use both face-to-face and social media networking techniques to widen your circle of influence.

Pay it forward.  For every career advancement you achieve, another person will step into your old shoes.  Create some good career karma for yourself by acting as a mentor, sponsor or advocate for your company’s more junior employees.

Kinsa is In Your Corner

When it comes to advancing your career, Kinsa is on your side.  Our recruiters take a genuine interest in helping you attain your professional goals in the food & beverage industry.   Get started with Kinsa today or search food & beverage executive and professional jobs here.