Executive Insider

An Unexpected Networking Opportunity

Believe it or not, this is a great time for executives in career transition to network and to meet people. In my role as a coach for C-Suite members looking for their new jobs, one of the things that we talk about is how important networking is in general and during this time with more people being at home, they’re actually starving for interaction with people. That desire to connect intersects with the fact that potential new contacts are more available because big holes have shown up in their schedules since they are not traveling and they are not commuting. So, they have time.

At Shields Meneley Partners, we have relationships with the most influential search firms and we are finding that recruiters are available. I have already lost count at the number of calls I have had with these people who do not understand why people are not calling them or returning their calls. This is a huge mistake. If you are an executive, particularly in the C-Suite, and you are in career transition, do not assume that nothing is going on with recruiters because nothing could be further from the truth.

Generally speaking, we know about half the positions, executive C-level, are on hold or at least moving slowly, but that also means the other half are full speed ahead and filling these positions is really important. No one wants to go into a board meeting this spring and say that a key position has not been filled because of the pandemic. So, recruiters are still looking to fill those roles.

Even if you are an executive not in career transition, this is still a good time to continue networking. With so many executives home and not busied with travel and in-person distractions from the office, people have the time to catch up. I recently made a list of 16 people that I wanted to contact over the next couple of weeks and after only a few days I had conversations with 15 people! In normal times that would have not happened during such a short timeframe. This is a good time to stay connected with people, offer your help, and at the same time listen. and share what is going on in your life.

Based on what we are seeing in the marketplace, best-in-class CEOs are staying in contact through Zoom or other video tools, with their leadership team, but also getting messages out on video vignettes that are pushed out to all employees, including those whom are furloughed, working, out in the field, or working from home. This is executed with a very human touch that shows leadership’s concern for families first and bringing them up to date on the business.


Written by Robert J. (Bob) Ryan, Have you read?

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Robert J. (Bob) Ryan
Robert J. (Bob) Ryan, Partner, Executive Coach and Advisor at Shields Meneley Partners. Executive Transition & Development Coach - C-Level Transition and Senior Leader Development. Shields Meneley Partners is highly specialized firm that advises and coaches senior executives and board members to advance their work and careers. Bob is a Managing Partner of The Sierra Institute, an invitation-only group of up to 50 CHROs from across the USA who meet regularly and work to develop the function, community and themselves. Robert J. Ryan is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.