I’ve recently been invited to participate with a new networking group, and as time during tax season is a real luxury, I really had to think about the value of networking because there is so much of it out there, but is it effective?
Almost anyone in business knows that a network is valuable – yet so many of us dread the thought of building one – after hour meetings, standing up in a room and saying “Hi, I’m Stephan, and I’m a CPA and CVA” – a “who and a what?” (most people do think that is pretty awesome though), feeling that we have to do something right away to show our value. Middle school was hard enough, must we now make new friends?
If our view of networking is intrinsically self-interested, even somewhat sleazy – “what’s in it for me” –and who wants to be defined like that – of course we will loath the thought of it. In maintaining this view, we will prioritize immediate tasks and individual success as the ends to a mean and we won’t put in the energy to develop a longer term strategic network.
Like it or not, relationships hold keys to both your current capacity and future success.
Is it all worth it?
Like everything else, it depends, we tend to get out of something what we put into it – so what are you putting into your network building?
What can a network do for you?
- It can keep you informed.
- Help you with sensing trends and seeing opportunities.
- Teach you new things.
- Create, build and solidify relationships with opinion leaders and talent in diverse areas.
- Make you more innovative.
- Give you a sound board to flesh out your ideas.
- Enable you to be more collaborative and create more value for your clients or organization.
- Help you get things done when you are in a hurry and you need a favor.
- Is a tool for identifying new strategic opportunities and attracting the best people to them.
- It’s an opportunity for you to provide value and assist others.
- Generate breakthrough ideas.
- Provide a channel through which you sell your initiatives to the people you depend on for cooperation and support.
- Establish yourself and be sought out as an expert.
- Put you on the map of people who control your next job or assignment and who form their opinion of you potential partly on who know you and what they say about you.
The list goes on – what would you add to it?
Delivery-driven individuals and workers network to do today’s job. Effective individuals and leaders create and use networks to tap new ideas and fresh insights, connect to people with different perspectives, and learn best practices.