The Best Don’t Always Win — But They Eventually Will

Last year, there were two interesting articles about the wireless provider T-Mobile.

One was from May 2010 and proclaimed in its title, “T-Mobile and Verizon Most Satisfied American Wireless, Sprint Most Improved, Says ACSI.” It starts off like this:

“According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with wireless telephone service sets a new all-time high for the second year in a row, rising 4% to 72.

“With wireless looking to be the future of telephone service, providers are ramping up efforts to provide new services, simplified usage plans, and better pricing. T-Mobile gains 3% to 73, tying for the lead with Verizon Wireless, which dips 1%.”

"The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you're not good enough. On occasion some may be correct. But do not so their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don't take it personally when they say "no" - they may not be smart enough to say "yes"." - Keith OlbermannThat sounded very encouraging for T-Mobile, but a couple months later, this article in Yahoo! Finance was sounding the death knell for T-Mobile.

And the big news in March of this year was that AT&T was buying T-Mobile, thus proving right the prediction in Yahoo! Finance (well, if AT&T is successful in its defense of the merger in Washington).

What an odd paradox. How could the company be performing so well in one aspect, but then be on the verge of extinction when considering another? Ultimately, I believe it comes down to positioning and name recognition.

That’s not unlike the keys to success that can be identified on a job search and in a career. It’s no secret that the majority of positions filled are found through networking. And for those who are able to successfully navigate themselves into higher positions, again, it’s not necessarily being the most qualified person to do the job; it’s knowing the right people and being known so that you have more of a chance to get in the door.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you give up all the hard work that makes you one of the top talents in your field. You still should strive to put forth the best you can do in your work because you know you take pride in doing a good job. But also take some time to connect to and develop your network. After all, how are you going to get where you want to go if no one knows you or what you can do?

Is effective networking a guarantee that you’ll have a meteoric rise in your career? Of course not. We all know of cases where someone who is ill-equipped to do a job is selected, while a highly-qualified individual is passed over. It’s a reality of life that the best doesn’t always win. As Keith Olbermann says:

“Don’t take it personally when they say ‘no’ – they may not be smart enough to say ‘yes.'”

I know some may not find comfort in those words — “I’m still on the short end of the stick!” you may think. Instead of bemoaning this reality at every turn, position yourself as a strong candidate by doing great work and increase your name recognition by forming/maintaining significant connections. Being consistent with your productivity and your networking will, over time, ensure that you will win.

Image courtesy of Wonderlane

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