Ask the Smart PM: How do you network within your organization?

Conrado MorlanThis guest post is by Conrado Morlan, Smart PM.
Dear Smart PM…
I am a recent hire in the project management office at a large corporation. I have been working as a freelancer in project management for many years. Although I consider myself a good networker and a good communicator, I had difficulty networking within the company. What can I do for the long-term relationships I want to establish with project stakeholders? PM Lost in Corporate World.
Dear Lost in Corporate Life…
Your skills as a freelancer in networking should be transferable to a permanent job. It is important to understand the company you are joining in your new job. Talk to the experts. Talk to accountants, for example, if your company is an accounting firm. Your company knowledge will be a great asset to your personal network.
It is essential that you have a strong network and establish strong relationships with stakeholders as a project manager. Your manager and your peers will help you identify the strategic functional areas. Choose a few. Identify their roles in the organization and choose two to three people for each. Pay attention to people at different levels of responsibility.
It doesn’t have be difficult to network within an organization. Take your favorite mug and go to different break rooms during a coffee break. It is always a good idea for you to get up and walk around the building.
Events at work can be a great way to meet your colleagues. The atmosphere is relaxed and encourages camaraderie. This is a great way to get to know the company and make new hires feel welcome. You might be interested in other activities that can help you expand your network.
Include administrative assistants into your internal network. They are often the “gate-keepers”, and having them around can help you get to project stakeholders when it is most needed. Keep in touch with them and send them birthday and greeting cards on special occasions.
It is never too late to start thinking about your future. Pay attention to the opinions of your peers. Your manager will support you if you are a high-potential resource. As you climb the organizational ladder, make yourself visible to your manager’s peers.
Conrado Morlan, PMP and PgMP has more than 15 years experience in managing projects and programs in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He also manages multigenerational and multicultural teams. Conrado was the first person to earn the PMI PgMP(r), credential in Latin America, and the first in Mexico. Conrado is a frequent guest speaker at Project Management congresses in America and Latin America, an avid volunteer with several PMI chapters, a contributor for PMI Community Post and INyES Latino and a blogger at http://thesmartpms.posterous.com. Conrado is available for questions, comments, and feedback.