There's a networking event for mid and senior level executives in St Louis.
It's at 7 a.m. on April 20th at the Bulls and Bears Cafe, and its purpose is teaching managers how to find a new position.
I used to try to do a lot of that - counseling mid and senior level managers on how to use their contacts to find new positions. When they were my clients, I couldn't place them, but I certainly could describe how I would go about getting a job.
Managers have a tendency to get siloed in their organization. They don't get the opportunity to speak with prospective companies about employment, so they often are lost when it comes to looking for a new position.
This is a great idea - but I wonder what they talk about. I've run manager meetings - in fact I have one whose purpose is unsiloing (it's a new term) managers for just such occasions. What I observed was that managers come in two kinds - the talkers and the delegators.
Talkers are risk-takers by nature. They say what they want because they have confidence they can weather any storm. They prefer gregarious, outgoing meetings where excitement runs the day, and they are almost all entrepreneurial, even when embedded in large organizations.
Delegators are the backbone of the corporate world. Delegators listen to the conversations going on around them and make decisions based on the best available evidence. They don't speak a lot, but when they do, you'd better be listening. They tend not to repeat themselves, and they're looking for people who can quietly and competently perform tasks they are assigned.
Delegators by far outnumber the talkers. Corporations reward quiet competence over social gregariousness because the delegators don't put their necks on the line for foolish causes.
But in a networking environment, delegators are at a serious disadvantage. 10 delegators in a circle won't share important information, and they won't make the effort to get to know someone in a large social gathering. They are used to listening and making decisions, not collaborating with equals to achieve a larger goal. If you don't blow your own horn, no one is going to blow it for you.
For delegators, quiet lunches are better avenues. Go to the larger events, but find a few people you might enjoy talking to and invite them for lunch. In a smaller setting, you'll get the opportunity to share without significant risk, and if you select your lunch mate wisely, you may build a long-term relationship that brings benefits to both of you for the duration of your careers.
Click on the link - consider going - and maybe I'll see you there sometime.