As we move into the end of the fourth quarter, it’s easy to become laser focused on what needs to be accomplished by year end.  While all of this is important, remember to balance the work with relationship building.  Remaining conscious of this balance will ensure that you are visible across the organization and create opportunities to increase your airtime (i.e. ensure that people are talking about you in a good way when you are not around).

Take a moment to identify your key stakeholders; those individuals who are impacted by your role in the organization.  The list should include 3-4 senior leaders with whom you interact infrequently.  It should also include peers and colleagues from other parts of the organization, or board members, and external colleagues.  Establish a goal to connect (over lunch or coffee) with one senior leader and one other person from your list each month for the remainder of the year.

Use these conversations to interact on a personal level, sharing family stories, talking about the holidays and vacation plans, etc.  This level of conversation helps identify areas of common ground and strengthens connections. Work and business topics will undoubtedly enter the conversation.  Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your business acumen, share your insights, and express your ideas.

Your key stakeholder list is also a great source for thought partners.  As you approach your work, identify individuals on your list that can provide perspective and positively impact the outcome of your deliverables.  These should be individuals outside of your usual “go to” circle.  This presents yet another opportunity to share your thinking, demonstrate your openness to the ideas of others, and articulate your perspective based on past accomplishments.

Reflect on these conversations.  What did you learn? What did you share? Assess and document the benefits. The more of these conversations you initiate the greater the quality of your relationships and the greater your airtime.  Establish your plan for maintaining the momentum in 2017.