Career Success in the “Thank You” Economy

Businesspeople having a lunch break.Has it ever seemed to you like running your career is same old same old?

Certainly, it seems like that to me, especially with so many people believing career management is the same as it ever was. Frankly, as I’m sure you realize, there’s been a social media revolution, but are you really clear on how much that changes how you now need to manage your career?

One significant new reality is that career sucess increasingly requires always-on engagement with trusted members of your professional community. We’ve entered a time where social media is quickly reshaping expectations for how we engage with others whether on line or face to face. It’s a relationship economy, or as Gary Vaynerchuck has dubbed it, The Thank You Economy.

So, how is this economy different? Here’s Vaynerchuk’s view:

“[Business] … happens in the small, personal interactions that allow us to prove to each other who we are and what we believe in, honest moments that promote good feelings and build trust and loyalty.  When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. When it’s expedient and practical, they’d also rather do business …[with]… people they like.”

So, how does this change things? To successfully manage your career today, you need to:

Show You’re the Right Person.

Forget emphasizing job titles and transferable skills! Today, it’s both what you can do and who you are. First, you need to show ability to apply your experience and strengths to produce results that will be valued by clients. Second, you need to bring a likability that fosters emotional connection.

Be Clear About Your Why.

Great competencies and likeability are important, but you also need to be clear about why you do what you do. Your “why” connects you to the people you serve, the talents you use, and the outcomes you work to achieve. You can think of this as your vision for the world or purpose in life – but think of it. And be ready to share it with others.

Convey an Authentic Story to Underscore Credibility.

Today, people are especially astute in creating personal brand statements. Unfortunately, many of these are superficial. So, you also need to be ready to share your backstory. That is, you need to show how your life and work experiences make you qualified to do what you do, and relevant to the audiences you serve.

Identify and Connect with Your Brand Community.

Social media has made it easy to connect to lots of people, but it’s the relevance, of your connections that’s key. You’ll actually benefit most from the set of relationships who truly are your people; that is, those folks who understand what you do, and who are most likely to look for you (or people like you) when they see an opportunity.

Cultivate Professional Presence.

True presence can help fuel your career. Yet, presence transcends building profiles at business-networking sites, like LinkedIn, and pushing your own agenda when meeting people face to face. Cultivating presence means finding ways to add value to your professional communities, including sharing useful ideas, contributing your expertise to help others meet challenges or solve problems, and making sure to promote or acknowledge the work of others. In other words, it is your generous sharing that conveys your talents while building good will with others.

Perhaps it’s a paradox, but the technology that drives the “thank you” economy restores a community dynamic to career management.  So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s worth adjusting your approach. Because in the end, business success is about social connection.


    • says

      Thanks for your nice comment, Kimberly!

      I really think that people are way to driven by the “job search” model of career management. That is, they only manage reactively when they need a new job. I think long-term career success requires thoughtful ongoing effort.

      Happy you liked this post!

  1. says

    Great article. I especially think this:

    Cultivating presence means finding ways add value to your professional communities, including sharing useful ideas, contributing your expertise to help others meet challenges or solve problems, and making sure to promote or acknowledge the work of others.

    is so relevant. It amazes me how many people see networking as either a superficial event-driven transaction or a ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ opportunity and neglect that it is neither – it’s relationship and about earning the right to make a call or be the one people go to. I love the work Ferrazzi did around this in ‘Never Eat Alone’, and your point here is a great one.

  2. says

    Hi Andy!!

    Thanks for reading and commenting on this post!

    In fact, I’m especially happy you liked my view on presence! I firmly believe that if this were what people invested time in, there would be little need for agenda-driven networking. The shared good will in the community would help everyone sort things out so people simply support and help each other…

    Actually, even in believing this, I always felt it might be just a little idealistic! Of course, that was until I saw what’s happening in our Brave New Year community!

    Still, to stay with the business/career focus, you are absolutely right that this cannot be a “superficial event-driven transaction or a ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ opportunity….” It is about relationship and about earning the good will, and therefore right, to be the go to person!

    Again, glad you liked this! Look forward to our next vision session…!

  3. says

    Great post Walter! I am alwaysa cheerleader for people encouraging others to bring their true selves to the table whenever possible. The opening quote has been cut and pasted on to my linkedin profile for today!

  4. says

    Hi J’Val!! Thanks for visiting my site and for your terrific comment.

    It’s awesome how you put this! I LOVE the idea of bringing our true selves to the table…!! Because what makes for great relationship – whether over a meal or at work – is the level of intimacy and connection born of authenticity!

    The good news is that this is beginning to really dawn on people; and the more it does, the richer our connections!

    Thanks again!!

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