Stepping Outside Your Silo: The Long-Term Benefits of Diverse Career Connections

Two events this weekend connected me with my past, and each made me think about something I’ve learned in my career.

These learnings are particularly applicable to those of you who are early in your careers, and the people who manage and mentor you.

The first event was a get together with folks from my last company, #MyoKardia. It was wonderful to see and catch up with my former colleagues. I thought about the bonds that had been created by working together. And how important it is to form those connections with the people you work with…

…even – or especially – with people who are NOT in your area of expertise.

Let me explain. Early in our career, we get used to working with people who are trained like us and think like us. That can be very comfortable because they have the same language, goals and frame of reference.

But long-term success means reaching out beyond those you share expertise with.


This is how you benefit today: whatever your expertise, you are relying on others to make it possible for your work to proceed or be known. Meet those people. Find out what they do. Explain what you do.

You will be amazed at how much these connections can make your work life easier.

I still remember meeting the members of my first cross-functional project team, and having no idea what the finance or legal representatives did. But I swallowed my “I-should-know-everything-already” pride and asked them to explain what they did in plain language. After that, when I had a contract question or needed to get some info on the budget, I always knew who to talk to.

…and three companies later when my former legal rep joined as the VP of intellectual property, we had already built a relationship.

And how do you benefit in the future?

All those people you work with now are going to move around to different places and take different paths than you do. Through the magic of #LinkedIn (and company reunion get togethers 🙂) you can stay in touch quite easily.

And there’s nothing better than showing up at a new company as an employee or consultant, and seeing familiar faces.

Tomorrow I’ll share what I learned from the second event.

Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

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