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Why you should create a relationship action plan

Why you should create a relationship action plan

Phil Steventon


Reading time: five minutes

I’ve been enjoying reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a great book to read if you’re interested in learning how to network and build meaningful relationships in your work and business life.

One of the points made in the book is to create a relationship action plan to help advance your professional goals. This is a structured way of outlining what you want to achieve, how you plan to achieve these goals, and who you should have in your professional circle to you get there.

To create this plan, you should:

  • write down a long-term goal that you want to achieve in the next few years;
  • write down at least one medium-term goal that you want to achieve in the next 12 months or so;
  • write down at least one short-term goal that you want to achieve in the next three to six months; and
  • write down, next to each goal, who you think you’ll need in your professional circle to help you achieve them.

When creating your own plan, keep in mind the following:

Make specific goals

It doesn’t help if you just write down “become better at time management”; think of how you’ll measure your progress in this area.

Make each goal achievable

Make sure it’s possible for you to achieve your goal. This is because setting yourself an easy goal means you won’t feel you’ve achieved much. And setting yourself hard goals means you’ll feel resentful and demotivated if you can’t hit an impossible target.

Update your plan

Update your plan as you pass each time increment. Having an up-to-date plan means you’re clear as to where you want to go in your personal and business life. It’s also useful to see exactly how much you have achieved with each update.

Have a visual plan

Keep your plan somewhere where you will always see it, this could be on your desk, your fridge, your phone case, your laptop, it doesn’t matter! As long as your plan is visible to always remind you of your goals.

What does this look like?

I’ve just created one for myself. Let me show you how it looks.

My three-year goal

  • To qualify as a lawyer by completing my CILEX work-based learning portfolio and qualifying employment requirements, applying for Fellowship of CILEX, and doing work that I enjoy and that fulfils me personally and professionally.
    • Qualified CILEX lawyers could help me to think about how to compile my portfolio.
    • Practice area leaders and subject experts could help me learn more about the areas I want to train in.

For more information about this qualifying route, check out this LawCareers.Net CILEX page.

An upcoming one-year goal

  • I want to be working in a practice area that I truly enjoy and can get brilliant training in. I also want work in an environment where my input will be truly valued but where I can also be anonymous and crack on with what I need to when I need to.
    • People working at firms I am interested in could offer unique insights into, for example, the workplaces, environments and values.
    • Recruiters and agents can make approaches on my behalf, and perhaps signpost to workplaces to look at.

Check out LawCareers.Net practice area profiles.

An upcoming three-month goal

  • To be working in my next role and training again, preferably in a role I want to train in, or in a role where I can use my gained expertise.
  • To have gained further contacts in the practice areas I am interested in gaining training in.
    • I can approach existing connections to ask for introductions.
    • I can email practitioners myself and ask for a 15-minute chat.

The importance of networking

We know that networking is an important skill in life and in business. Building relationships is critical to us as professionals, whether it is for business opportunities, career advancement, making friends in the profession, or however you choose to define success.

Find out more about the benefits of networking in this LCN Says: ‘A student’s guide to networking’.

Your network can help to fill in any knowledge gaps, offer different perspectives and experiences, introduce you to others, refer clients to you, be your cheerleaders, and even offer you employment (that’s how I found my most recent job).

In life, our personal friends support us, help us to grow, include us in their lives and futures. In work and business, professional friends are much the same. We can only get so far on our own, and realistically we need others around us if we want to achieve what we set out to.

You can find out why it’s important to network by reading ‘LawCareers.Net's guide to networking’.

The power of writing things down

Why should your goals be written down? Put simply, it makes your plans much clearer!

As for remembering it, some of my challenges include working memory and regulating focus. So, having it in writing and somewhere I can see it regularly means I’m not negatively impacted by one of my challenges.

But regardless of your brain, having your goals in writing is always useful for remembering and processing information. Anything that makes it easier to visualise and remember something will be helpful to you.

Words mean nothing without action

Whatever your goals are and whoever you want on the journey with you, the most important word here is ACTION! So, don’t forget to do something every day, no matter how small, to put your plans into action and achieve the results you want.