By Andrea Fernandez, WCA Member
In June 2021, WCA invited Fay Fleming of the Business Performance Company to be our guest speaker at WCA@Lunch. Located in St. Louis, Business Performance Company helps clients identify the Voice of the Customer, build brand preference, increase sales and create sustainable competitive advantages.
While working with clients, Fay and her team discovered six pivotal relationships that all professionals must cultivate to grow their companies or positions in a powerful way, and maximize their successes.
Six Relationships for a Powerful Career and Life
Fay describes a peer-fan as someone who knows your personal brand and choses to be a raving fan. They are someone you may have worked with before and who has seen you at your most successful moments. Fay explains that a peer-fan is someone who will promote your personal brand in places and with people in your absence.
Whereas a peer is someone who is a regular teammate of yours, a mentor is a person who helps to guide you through the unknown. A mentor offers context and thoughtful advice that supports your ability to make wise choices. Your mentor will guide you to reach your goals.
3. Role Models
Fay describes a role model as a person whose life course you admire and therefore study. You look closely at your role model’s milestones and emulate them for your personal life goals. Oftentimes, a person needs one-on-one coaching to effectively reach their role model’s milestones.
While being courted for jobs, ask the company to provide you with an executive coach to help you onboard and increase your early contribution. A coach is someone in your industry who answers the nuanced questions you may have about your field. Fay states that these first four relationships are vital to have on your bench. While you may not actively communicate with these four people at all times, they know you and stand ready to support your success.
However, Fay states that the single most important relationship you must have is an advocate. While an advocate also shares wise counsel, they understand that their job is to actively assist you in growing your business or career. They listen for opportunities and directly promote your personal brand. And, when necessary, they are also willing to put their reputation and brand on the line to help you win key projects, promotions and other advances.
The last key relationship Fay advises us to have is a translator. A translator is similar to your personal quick and easy Google. If you are in business situations and there is jargon you are unfamiliar with, your translator is the person you can reach out to for context and clarification. There are different types of translators such as technology translators, business translators, and those who help translate company culture. As opposed to being clueless or left out of conversations and opportunities, your translator quickly helps you understand key business practices and new language.
The key to success is consistently managing all six key relationships in ways that provide benefits for all involved. Find and recruit people for your team who want to see you succeed and, therefore, will help you achieve your goals. It is vital to remain mentor-able and follow through with your relationships.
The Importance of Netweaving
Fay also recommends netweaving to navigate relationships and meetings. Netweaving is similar in concept to networking, but deepens the relationships of the people we meet. Rather than simply handing someone a business card and potentially forgetting about the interaction, we must build a web of connections and weave everyone together. Fay shared that she regularly attends netweaving luncheons, similar to Women Communicators of Austin luncheons, where invitees are able to build closer relationships with each other. They can call upon one another and ask to be on each other’s benches more comfortably because they were more than just business cards in each other’s wallets—they were netweavers.
The Women Communicators of Austin luncheon with Fay Fleming was a success. One member shared, “I need more relationships!” after the event. And everyone walked away with actionable advice and takeaways.
About Fay Fleming
Fay Fleming is the managing director of the Business Performance Company (BPC), an award-winning consulting firm that has helped clients build brand preference, increased sales and sustainable competitive advantages since 1994. With more than 20 years of senior-level expertise, Fay’s career includes work in strategy, research, training and communications. A former business columnist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the St. Louis Business Journal, she is also an author and a speaker, focusing on employee and organizational success.
Fay’s client experience includes United Way, Edward Jones, HP, Wal-Mart, AT&T, GM, Enterprise, Johnson & Johnson, and SBA, among others.
Please reach out to Fay by email if you are in need of a speaker or need a research or training partner. Fay’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea Fernandez is a Rio Grande Valley native who has a passion for creating clear and authentic communication strategies. She is an experienced public relations and social media communicator who utilizes her expertise to create innovative change within the Austin community.