Currently, I am envisioning a career in the field of international business and management. Therefore, my future job may involve contacts with people from different organizations related to various supply chain elements, such as sales, procurement, and transportation. With this perspective in mind, I have initially listed five types of people who may become my possible network contacts:
- Customs inspector — including this person in the network may facilitate customs clearance of imported goods;
- Sales manager of transportation company — good relations with this person can help with getting better freight rates;
- Customs broker — this person can assist with fast and problem-free customs clearance process;
- Procurement manager — being in the good graces of this specialist may serve as a competitive advantage and a source of valuable insider information;
- Line personnel worker — despite their lower positioning in the professional hierarchy, this person may recommend my company’s products to their superiors.
Mrs. Karen Cross, a good acquaintance of my parents and a sales manager in a global company, gracefully agreed to participate in my interview. I asked her for assistance since she is an experienced professional in international business who could provide valuable advice. Other than that, Mrs. Cross was a viable choice due to her long friendship with our family, so I could expect understanding on her part. Overall, my goals in the interview lay in getting advice on what personality traits should develop a manager of a global company and how to network more effectively.
Due to the fact that Mrs. Cross is not a stranger to our family, it was not difficult to arrange a meeting. However, even on such occasions, one should be respectful and not overuse other people’s goodwill. I had visited Mrs. Cross at her apartment last Saturday afternoon when she had a day off and could spare personal time for a conversation. In general, I recommend exercising as much flexibility in planning as possible, even if a person knows you well — after all, the initiative is coming from you.
I mainly asked Mrs. Cross about effective networking strategies from her personal experience and the most valuable traits of a manager working in a global company. The main takeaway from the first answer was the importance of humane treatment of other people. Mrs. Cross said that people in the world of business often treat others as resources, the means to an end. Such an approach usually breeds only mutual anger and hatred, which is counterproductive to successful networking.
However, as Mrs. Cross said, a sales manager is usually in the same boat as a procurement specialist — but the former provides solutions to a problem while the latter looks for one. Other people in the global supply chains are also merely doing their jobs to keep the world running. Therefore, a smart manager should develop patience and empathy: these traits would help in doing business with highly diverse people.
This advice supported a suggestion given by Tanya Menon in the TedX video. In her speech, she claimed that it is important to remove an economic, transactional attitude to human beings in order to build strong social networks (Menon). Networking is an essential process for building a successful career (Lussier and Achua 155). However, Lussier and Achua also defined it as means to “get others to help you reach your objectives” (159). After talking to Mrs. Cross and watching the TedX video, I would like to alter this definition — networking should be considered an asset for a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Lussier, Robert N. and Cristopher F. Achua. Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development. Cengage Learning, 2015.
Menon, Tanya. “The Secret to Great Opportunities? The Person You Haven’t Met Yet.” TED, uploaded by TEDxOhioStateUniversity, 2017. Web.