There are people out there you should know - do you know who they are?
Back at UW I was always amazed at how easy life could be if you networked well and then nurtured those relationships. And the networking shouldn't just be in your organization, but across organizations, different staff members of important departments (facilities people or reservations people at Memorial Union, for instance), and other individual achievers.
I did this well for a year or so and it payed off BIG TIME for the rest of my university time, but I can't imagine how many opportunities I lost by not continually expanding my network.
A few key points summarized:
1. Network with the soft underbelly of the division or organization. A good example of this is the secretary of the CEO, or any other "invisible" executer. The people closest to the ground can usually influence decisions, and I've found them to be much easier to network with.
2. Never stop building out your network of friends, associates, compadres, etc. You NEVER know when you'll need a favor or when that person could come in handy. I recommend dropping a call every so often to see what YOU can do for THEM. This makes it easier when your Day of Need comes.
3. When you need approval or are pushing for some sort of change, the decision maker's proximity to the problem matters. Get them as close as possible to the Problem, so they can see it and all its graphic detail with their own 2 eyes.