Making an impact, raising awareness on topics that are driving our society forward, connecting great minds and smart ideas, investing in human capital and core skills. I worked on my passions and turned them into a business.
Over the past 18 years, I’ve had quite the career journey: 12 different business cards and titles, 5 companies, 3 countries. My most recent addition is the business card I cherish the most: my 6th company, my own.
In each of those positions, I was amazed by the many great people who surrounded me and the power that came from our personal and professional relationships with each other. The most simple yet powerful leadership lesson I learned over my career was that success in life comes as much from what you know and from how you nourish your relationships.
Yet, many career-oriented colleagues continued to focus solely on the one most advertised pathway: the steep career ladder. No matter what the cost was, and what values it clashed with. Somehow considerably less time, energy, thought, and effort went into harnessing their networks and nourishing relationships with key stakeholders around them and outside of their immediate professional world, and even less went into improving vital skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, charisma, self-brand, strengths awareness, to name a few. A pattern began to form for some of those colleagues: at some point, inevitably, their careers stalled, or stopped. Or they simply grew tired, less passionate, they found less purpose in what they had been doing. And the landscape outside did not look comforting. How many had invested in well-rounded networks and had efficiently mapped their strengths, skills and passions, had worked on their core "soft skills", or were clear on what drove them beyond their job, benchmarking them with reality and feasibility? Very few.
I knew other colleagues who understood the importance of networks but didn’t know how to approach building them strategically. Or did not think they had the ‘social skills’ to maintain strong relationships, or sometimes they were lacking the time and the structure. So many fell back on emails and virtual relationships via social media, exchanges that were never of the same quality as relationships built in-person and over the years. A network built by chance, convenience, social media platforms, and the goodwill of friends, colleagues and business partners is also a bit haphazard.
What if there was a network where successful professionals could meet in-person and strategically build and strengthen their relationships? What if someone helped them to prioritize? What if a network offered high-impact training and in-person content normally meant for C-Suite executives, but it was made available for those who believe in making an impact and in the power of a strategic community and cross-industry exchanges?
#SmartPlan was born from the belief that our professional lives are based on three key pillars: education, experience and network. While we dedicate an incredible amount of time to the first two pillars, we often leave the strength of our networks to chance, luck, spare moments and digital platforms. Yet, research suggests that almost 90% of roles and business partnerships leverage personal relationships. And relationships need genuine interest and skills to be nourished and grow.
This is where #SmartPlan comes in.
Our community brings together an elite group of diverse, successful professionals to increase the value we bring to each other and increase the impact we have on the world.
#SmartPlan’s mission is to accelerate the success of impact-makers by cultivating an inspiring and valuable in-person network while providing high-impact training on the latest sought-after skills, such as charisma, self awareness, self-brand, emotional intelligence in business, and much more.
The future of business and of work does no longer necessarily involve a straight-line 20 years career within the same corporation or even industry.
“One of the paradoxes of the future will be that to succeed one will need to stand out from the crowd while at the same time being part of the crowd or, at least, the wise crowd. So, you will need to both stand out with your mastery and skills and simultaneously become part of a collection of other masters who together create value.
That’s because, in a future increasingly defined by innovation, the capacity to combine and connect know-how, competencies and networks will be key. It’s in this synthesis or combination that real innovative possibilities lie. So, whom you choose to connect with, and to whom they are connected, will be one of the defining aspects of future working life.
High-value networks will consist of a combination of strong relationships with a few knowledgeable people and a larger number of less-connected relationships with a more extensive network. Your high-value networks will connect you with people who are similarly specialised as well as those with very different competencies and outlooks. It is in the diversity of these broader networks, that the possibility of innovation lays.
I believe there is an opportunity over the coming decades to shape work and life in a manner that enables people to reconnect with what makes them happy and creates a high quality of experience. The breakdown of automated work, the rise of home-based working and the increase in the possibility of choice provide the foundation for a shift in focus, away from quantity consumed as the only measure of success.” (Source: The Future of Work, Lynda Gratton, organizational theorist, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School).
Are you ready for the shifting balance of power? Visit #SmartPlan.