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The New Rules for Success in a New Role with Rob Cross, Founder and Chief Research Scientist at Connected Commons

By Jeremy Weisz posted 01-12-2022 04:00 AM


Succeeding in a new role today does not look the same as it did 10 or 20 years ago. Conventional wisdom says that transitioning to a new position is about making a big difference fast. But studies of the most successful transitions show that the key to long-term accomplishment is to focus on developing your network, especially the internal network of peers, superiors, and subordinates — the team that gets work done in today’s cross-functional, interconnected, collaborative workplaces. So what steps can you take to flourish in the current professional climate? Networking expert Rob Cross talks about this and more as he joins Thomas A. Stewart on The Leading Edge — a place where new ideas emerge and are sharpened, and where leaders look to find the edge that brings success for themselves, their teams, and their enterprises.

Whether you’ve been promoted, transferred to a new department or division, or been brought in from outside, the network is the key. Cross has practical strategies to help you reach success. For more than 20 years, Cross has studied the underlying networks of effective organizations and the collaborative practices of high performers. He’s found that the value of your network is critical if you want to thrive in a new role. As the digital world develops, Cross says that “...the way we work is more interdependent in these networks.” The rise of remote work has made networking even more important, as leaders and other key employees spend more time on calls, in Zoom meetings, and using digital communication tools such as Slack. It’s less important to be an individual star, and more important to be part of a constellation. So what does this mean for you? When you’re starting a new position, don’t try to sell or prove yourself. Instead, build relationships and trust within the organization for long-term success.

The value of your network extends beyond your career transitions. Even with the right skills and experience, neglecting to nurture your existing network can lead to underperformance, a high churn rate, and slowed productivity down the road. In a recent article he co-authored for the Harvard Business Review, Cross references a Gartner statistic indicating that “49% of people promoted within their own companies are underperforming up to 18 months after those moves.” To combat this underperformance, you have to shift and adapt your network strategies. When moving up the ranks at your current company, it’s still important to create mutual wins among your network, be proactive in shaping your role, and engage with your team at all levels. After all, it’s the people in your network that will help you grow, scale, and prosper.

In this episode of The Leading Edge, Thomas A. Stewart sits down with Rob Cross, Founder and Chief Research Scientist at Connected Commons, to discuss current strategies for success in a new role. Cross talks about the steps you should take within the first 90 days of a new position, tips for navigating the pressure of a new role, and the principles that will maximize your network’s value.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you will learn:

  • What resources are critical for success in today’s climate?
  • Rob Cross discusses the common mistakes people make when entering a new role
  • The economic impact of acquiring talent and swiftly incorporating them into the company network
  • How companies of all sizes can help employees establish connections
  • Cross’ strategies to maximize the value of your network
  • The elements that weave a diverse network — and how companies are navigating them
  • How to adapt and flourish after transitioning roles

About Our Guest:

Rob CrossRob Cross is the Founder and Chief Research Scientist at Connected Commons, a consortium of over 100 leading organizations accelerating network research and practice. Cross is also the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and Co-author of the November-December cover story of the Harvard Business Review, titled “How to Succeed Quickly in a New Role.”

As a networking expert, Cross has worked with over 300 organizations, reaching thousands of leaders from the front line to the C-suite. He has identified ways to cultivate vibrant, effective networks at all levels of an organization and any career stage. Through writing, speaking, consulting, and course creation, Cross’ network strategies are transforming the way people lead, work, and live in a hyper-connected world.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode:

The Leading Edge is brought to you by AchieveNEXT. 

AchieveNEXT empowers individuals, teams, and enterprises to meet ambitious growth goals through our powerful combination of peer-to-peer learning and solutions.

We bring together thousands of the top finance and HR leaders from across North America to connect and share business and industry insights through our Alliance Networks.

We empower individuals, teams and enterprises through powerful solutions which include 

- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training & Leadership Development 

- Business Relationship Training

- and Executive Coaching for individuals and teams.

This powerful combination helps today’s business leaders level up and achieve next-level growth.

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