Amy Waninger: Diversifying Your Hiring Network (Ep. #32)

By
The Better Manager Team
BetterManager Executive Coach

May 25, 2021

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #32: Diversifying Your Hiring Network

‘Check the Box’ Diversity is missing the big picture. Done right, DE&I can be key to gaining a competitive business advantage. Amy Waninger, author of "Network Beyond Bias", joins the podcast to discuss the business case for authentically investing in inclusive workplaces and diverse leadership teams.

In this episode:

Meet Amy:

  • Amy C. Waninger is the CEO of Lead at Any Level and works with organizations that want to build diverse leadership bench strength for a sustainable competitive advantage.
  • She is the author of multiple books including Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career.
  • Amy is a Professional Member of National Speakers Association and a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Her other credentials include two degrees from Indiana University and a World’s Best Mom coffee mug.

The Story Behind Network Beyond Bias

  • As I started going to more conferences, and I noticed as I walked out of the sessions about, you know, different diversity in aspects of diversity and inclusion. There were a lot of restatements of what I'm going to call "the problem". And the problem shows up in a number of different ways, right glass ceilings, bamboo ceiling, systemic racism, homogeneity of the C suite, all these different things that people talk about generational differences. But what can one person in a big company or huge industry do to actually affect change? It turns out one person can do quite a lot.
  • There is an assessment tool that I created, which basically became the whole reason to write the book. The assessment helps people understand how deep is their network, how broad is their network, and how deep are the relationships within it. I took my own assessment, and didn't like what I saw. I realized I wasn't doing everything I thought I was doing.
  • When I started to make some changes, specifically, showing up in places that weren't designed for me, I started mentoring people across meaningful difference and when I started seeking out mentors across meaningful difference, that's when things really changed. What I learned was, your heart can't be in the right place, if you don't move your feet.

Unconscious Biases

  • Unconscious biases can be thought of as the decisions we make when we don't realize we're making decisions.
  • So if you think about back in the day is when you went to a conference in a room full of people, you probably went and sat with people you knew by default. If we don't know anybody at the conference, we probably go to the people who are dressed like us look like us, act like us come from the same industry. We tend to cluster in groups of people who are like us, because we're comfortable, we go where we're comfortable. That's what unconscious bias does for us.
  • The problem with that is that we tend to make our world so small as a result of it, we stopped making decisions altogether. But we think we're making really good decisions. You have to override your defaults, just like if you were filling out a form online, there are some default values, but you can be aware of the advantage of changing them. You have to make a conscious effort to click something different.

How To Network Like A C.H.A.M.P

  • What does a really robust network look like? Who needs to be in it? The C.H.A.M.P. framework is an acronym, with each letter standing for a kind of person that you need in your network.
  • C is for Customer. A customer is someone outside your organization who has a choice about whether or not to exchange money for the goods and services your organization provides. So write down the name of a customer, or a true customer that you have a good relationship with. You want to know how your company stacks up in the in the marketplace in the industry, you need to get kind of that outsider perspective.
  • H is for someone you've Hired or Helped get a job. Usually in the last couple of months. The reason we want to hire or help people get jobs is because if you want a high value network, you need to be a value to your network. And the best way to put favors in that bank is to help people get their dream job, get a promotion,  get gainful employment.
  • A is for an Associate. This is your work buddy. This is somebody that maybe in your company, maybe outside, but it's the person that if you're having a rough day, you might say, "Hey, let's go get a cup of coffee and talk for a little bit." Somebody that you really rely on to pace with you in your career.
  • M is for your Mentor. Your mentor may be somebody who's formally assigned to you through an association or through your employer, or it might be somebody that you look up to. And when you have conversations about what's going on in your career, and they give you advice, you go do it. If you don't even somebody like that right now, think about whose books do you read, what podcast you listen to, whose blogs you follow, whose social media do you subscribe to? These are really the mentors we choose, where we consume advice.
  • P is for your Protege. Who do you invest in, because you see the potential in them? Not because it's good for you, but because it's good for them in their career.
  • How many do you have? Do you have all five?

Networking For Introverts

  • What if you're an introvert, and don't like networking? As an introvert, you have a secret superpower in networking, and that secret superpower is, you're the only one in the room who's listening!
  • Everybody wants to talk about themselves. Nobody wants to listen. So you don't have to keep the conversation going other than just to ask a follow up question. Just get really good at listening.
  • Asking great questions like, "What are you working on?" "Where do you work and what challenges are you facing?" "Who were you most hoping to meet at the conference?" "What was the best session that you attended?", allows you to network without pressure while gaining a ton of useful information.
  • This is a real opportunity to leverage getting really curious about other people.

Downloads & Resources

Follow Amy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. or at LeadAtAnyLevel.com.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

About Amy Waninger

Amy C. Waninger, CEO of Lead at Any Level, works with organizations that want to build diverse leadership bench strength for a sustainable competitive advantage. She is the author of multiple books including Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career.

Amy is a Professional Member of National Speakers Association and a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Her other credentials include two degrees from Indiana University and a World’s Best Mom coffee mug.

Episode Transcript

Posted on

May 25, 2021