This week marks my last at Virgin. After 3 1/2 years, I feel ready to go but still connected to the people and purpose of an amazing business. Rather than just amassing a list of friendly contacts for the future, I’ve tried to think of meaningful ways I can stay in contact with people. That challenging manager will hopefully become a much needed mentor. The inspiring female leader can become an ongoing source of advice and a gateway to future development opportunities. Those individuals I connected with shared over our shared passions can become learning buddies.
The reality is that you haven’t got time to maintain all the relationships you had when you were in the business, but focussing on 4 or 5 people you would really benefit from taking with you as a connection in your next role, is a valuable way of building a network for growth.
Walk & Talk
I was lucky enough to benefit from a well timed coaching session this week from a friend called Ian Sanders who, amongst other things, coaches people during walks in stimulating environments (he has also written a book called Mash Up, which I love and advocate a lot!). He met me at my office, along the river at Little Venice, and we discussed how I can ensure I bring my best self to my new role.
The timing of the session, my last day in my old role, was coincidental but so useful. It’s made me realise the benefit of having this sort of conversation as you move between roles, internally or externally. Taking the time to recognise what is unique about you, how you create value, what you want to be known for and how you can quickly seed this in your new environment is hugely valuable for your development. Even if you can’t access a coach, taking time to talk these things through with someone or just spending your own time reflecting is something I’d recommend.
Making time for curiosity
One of my favourite team exercises that we run in Amazing If is Curiosity Crowdsourcing. It essentially results in 30 people sharing ways they are curious and enables you to ‘steal’ their ideas to add to your own curiosity bank. This week, I spent time with Diageo and here are a few of the things the group shared:
- Read The Dieline for design inspiration
- Find art classes with www.meetup.com, you meet interesting people and often end up in quirky locations
- Only travel with www.airbnb.com to get a more authentic experience
- Download the TED talks app and navigate to presentations that interest you by following the Playlists
- Sit next to young people in public transport to get insights into technology trends
Some of the best ideas can be sourced from other people. You can often spot those extra-curious people. They ask lots of questions and seem to have a multitude of interests. Asking them what they are reading at the moment, what podcasts they listen to or even what their favourite apps are is always insightful and rewarding.
Have a good week, Helen