The Power of Relationships: Elevate Your Career with Strong Connections

If you aim to climb the corporate ladder or increase your influence within your current role, Relationship Building is a must-have mastery for your career advancement.

It’s hard to envision any executive advancing meaningfully in their career from mid-level management and above without powerful Relationships as part of your leadership toolkit. Regardless of your competency, navigating your career is just too tricky without strategic partners supporting your ideas and career.

And the sooner you tap into Relationships as a source for developing your career, the sooner you will begin accruing its dividends

Without this boost, you’ll find yourself slogging away, wondering why you didn’t receive the promotion you wanted.

Are you curious about how effective your Relationship Building skills have been so far? This exercise will help you assess and enhance your career trajectory.

Assess Your Current Relationships

Examine the categories below and quickly jot down names in each appropriate box.

Upward: Your boss and higher-ups within your division and others in your company, industry leaders, influential figures external in and outside your industry.    
Lateral:  Internally with your peers throughout the organization and externally with contacts making significant strides.    
Downward:  With subordinates and strong contributors within your company and potential up-and-comers outside your organization.




Evaluate Your Network

How did you do? Are some boxes overflowing while others remain empty? Have you identified where your Relationship Gaps exist? Filling in these absent Relationships with career acceleration partners will open doors for opportunities that may never have occurred with them in place.

Now it’s time to proactively plan how to address those missing Relationships to generate a well-rounded, powerful support system for yourself.  This focus helps you pinpoint new influential connections to pursue.

Strengthening Your Current Network

Challenge yourself emotionally… Are your current Relationships mainly with executives you feel comfortable with?

While there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s less impactful than targeting and engaging with the key movers and shakers inside and outside your company. If you only align with executives you emotionally connect with—typically, peers or bosses—your Relationships will not have the political clout necessary to promote your career. Adding those senior leaders with positional authority to your list of influencers is the biggest leverage you can generate for a robust network to boost your career.

Take Action

Review your Relationship graph again and analyze the listed individuals. Are they in your Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system? Do you have regular communication practices with them? How often have you connected with these contacts solely to deepen the relationship? Are you scheduling follow-up opportunities with them at regular intervals? Who do you need to start reaching out to right now?

Recording your action steps and commitment to moving forward will generate the foundation and momentum needed for your success.

Hey… no cheating… you can’t count work-related interactions with executives for this exercise. This effort is about building connections, not producing work.

Systemize Your Connections

Meeting an executive is a good start, and it’s not enough. You must manage and invest in Relationships over time. Automating this process will improve your results. When inserting a new contact, decide how often in between interactions is needed to establish a long-term relationship. Do you need to calendar this executive once a month, four times a year, or twice a year.

At the end of each interaction with this individual, calendar a follow-up session in your CRM system to determine if the time sequence needs to change based on the Relationship you’ve established.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly time flies between adding an executive’s name and the follow-up date popping up on your calendar–that’s why you use a system. This approach might feel mechanical, yet it’s essential for long-term success. Your natural emotions will come into play as you connect with others.


Remember, Relationship Building is a journey that requires time, attention, and effort, but will pay off. The connections you cultivate now will support your career and make your path to success more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Related: The Currency of Career Success: The Power of Words