- For companies, titles are cheaper than raises.
- Which means you don’t always know how much influence an “influencer” really has.
- Which means one needs to look for other clues.
Chief Happiness Officer? Check.
Chief Memory Officer? Got one of them, too.
Indeed, title inflation has trickled down from senior management. “Director of First Impressions” is at some companies what used to be called a “receptionist.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with whimsy, especially in corporate America, and at a functional level many of these men and women are doubtless quite good at what they do. But they may not be very good at fleshing out networks, which matters if you’re trying to build a valuable professional network. A concocted title does not an influencer make.
On the contrary, a flood of them has devalued the relationship capital cachet of the C-Suite. We’ve written about the importance of maintaining efficient networks, and these days that means being particularly mindful of the worth of each of your contacts. And that may mean figuring out a different way to evaluate that worth.
Of course, that’s the kind of intimate knowledge we aren’t about to have for every one of our contacts. Huggability doesn’t always break through at a conference breakout session. Other characteristics, though, can be more readily apparent in social settings.
You might call them Chief Networking Officers. On second thought, please don’t.
The Takeaway: Do your homework. It’s more important than ever to understand the “who” behind the “C,” so be certain the “chief” you’re dealing with actually has the command and reach you want or need.
RelSci is a technology platform that helps create competitive advantage for legal, nonprofit, corporate and financial organizations through a crucial yet vastly underutilized asset: relationship capital with influential decision makers.