It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows YOU!

Published on June 17, 2013 by

The Harvard Business Review Research Report recently featured an article on "The Sponsor Effect" and it reveals why many women are finding it hard to climb the corporate ladder.

One key finding stated women underestimate the need and value of having a "sponsor" at work for obtaining promotions, key assignments and tapping into the "unwritten rules" in the workplace.

Another key finding states:  Most women believe that hard work alone will get them noticed and propel them upward. Fully 77 percent insist that hard work and long hours, not connections, account for their advancement. Interesting, isn't it?

You've heard the maxim, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," and that's partially true. The other side of the coin that you need to cash in on is, "It's not who you know, it's who knows you."

If you want to rise to significant levels in your organization, it's time to rethink your strategy and tap into the power structure at the top echelons. Otherwise, you can work yourself to the point of exhaustion with too little to show for it career-wise.

It's time to make yourself more visible and known to those who can take you with them as they ascend the corporate ladder. It's time to connect and ask for and obtain the sponsor that will open the doors to greater opportunity, responsibilities and rewards.

Think relationships. Think connections. The right connections will take you higher and further in your career. Why put in the hard work and long hours only to find yourself standing outside the inner circle?

You deserve more, but you won't get more until you build connections with the right people at the right level. Someone wants to sponsor you; it's your job to find them and tap into the power of a sponsor.

(A version of this post originally appeared in where I have been a frequent contributor.)


  1. Dan Black

    Great post, I reminds me about the importance of taking leadership and the initiative in our job role.

    • Alan Allard

      Hi Dan, you are so right, we have to take the initiative. It's amazing what happens when we do, even on small level. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. TJ Trent


    Leadership is all about relationships!

    • Alan Allard

      I agree TJ. We rely too much on position, title and tactics--when the real leverage comes from relationships.

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