Business is a human enterprise, driven and determined by people. In this world of people you successfully build your brand – one relationship at a time .
The quality of your net-work indeed determines the value of your net-worth ! Margaret Wheatley rightly says that relationships are all there is. Nothing exists in isolation. Everything in the universe exists because it is in relationship to everything else. We cannot survive alone.
Unprecedentedly, net-working skills were never in life more critical a contributor to individual success as it is now. Your past is no longer a prologue to your future. To achieve your goals in life, it now matters less how smart you are or how much innate talent you have. It means precious little if you do not understand that you can reach much further or reach the same distance much faster, only if you have the skills to capitalize on the incredible ‘power of relationships’.
Net-working unfortunately has attracted it’s equal share of negative attention by virtue of its unfortunate association with those who systematically manipulate and politicise their relationships to gather undeserving personal advantages. Their driver is simple….”you give information – you get information” and that’s how they build their success capital on such networks. They are constantly engaged in concocting strategies to build their dubious popularity on the basis of ‘who did what for whom’…they gave so that they can receive. But such are ‘networking jerks’ as Keith Ferrazzi classifies them in his very interesting book – ‘Never Eat Alone’. Such people and their groups are often the maternity wards of gossips in an enterprise.
But for a handful of these not so gentlemen, one cannot afford to undermine the criticality of net-working skills in this age of people , information and relationships. In a hyper connected world, cooperation is gaining ground over competition.
Real net-working skills are about finding ways to make other people in the configuration of your connections , more successful. It is working hard to give more than you receive and this is positive net-working. Success kisses those who have a vibrant circle of trustworthy, talented and inspirationally powerful people who build a protective insulation around each other.
FIVE Positive things effective net-workers do, which could be learning lessons for us :
? No Balance-Sheet : Effective net-workers never keep a tally sheet of how often they gave to match with the times they received. No keeping track of favours. They prepared no Balance-Sheet of exchange. Relationships are like muscles…the more you work them, the stronger they become. The currency of networking is printed in the Generous Mint.
? Listing Influencers and Researching Inner Circles : Effective net-workers do a lot of research to identify the people who are Influencers or in the inner circle of the decision-makers and the Powers that be. This is based on what their purpose/journey is all about. Their focus is on expanding their circle of contact and influence. This research is very critical as it makes the net-worker understand the power broking pattern in the system and the decision making process of the enterprise. This is done much ahead of time. Rightly they say ‘build it before they need it’.
? Building a Break-through Plan : Effective net-workers strategize and build a systematic plan to be able to break through and reach out to each of these Influencers in the inner power circle..one relationship at a time. Certainly they use the Six Degrees of separation rule very effectively to build their linkages. They identify the intermediary ‘go-to’ person, if they are not able to reach out directly. Effective net-workers are audacious and are skilled at tactfully socialising and managing these gatekeepers to their list of Influencers. They never miss an opportunity to meet, greet or celebrate. Cakes, flowers and chocolate shops owe a lot to these net-workers !!!.
? Mastering the Elevator Pitch : Effective Net-workers craft their Elevator pitch depending on who they are reaching out to. Needless to say that they do serious homework and research to check out profiles of the people they are working to build their relationship with. What’s- App Groups of Influencers, LinkedIn Blogs, LinkedIn Groups and other social media platforms are all their hunting ground.
? Acting as an Exchange for Information : An effective net-worker is like a multi track information highway. They gather, at times buy, store , allow mining and freely exchange information. They act like a hub. No longer hoarding information is the source of power. The net worker believes in social arbitrage and freely therefore shares information which he has gathered with others.
We are living in a world where community of alliances thrives. It is hardly surprising that most of our happiness should thus arise from the context of our relationships with others. It is not about self-centred political net-working. It is about making your mark as a ‘Connector’ and thus making worthy contributions to your friends, family, Company, Community and the World through its interconnectedness, says Keith Ferrazzi.