“According to research conducted by the Business Networking Academy, 75% of business people admit that their existing networks do not support the results they need.”
This may be because:
- Social media: the shift from face to face to online networking
- The push to do more with less
- The shift from loyalty and longevity with one organisation to working project to project: gig economy
- Social networking takes a back seat as people struggle to achieve more with less.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
Networking provides you with a collective wisdom, support and positioning. When you have a trusted network to call on you can find answers, options and ideas to help fast track any challenges.
Having people around you who can challenge your thinking or assumptions, means you can gain broader perspectives and find better, more effective ways of doing your work. Haven’t you ever been stuck on something and the minute you discuss it with a colleague and they ask a question or make a suggestion the answer, solution or next step becomes clear?
You no doubt know of someone who’s landed a great opportunity because of someone they’ve been connected to. “It not what you know it’s who you know.” But it’s more than that, successful networkers contribute, they look for ways to support and give, not simply seek out what’s in it for them. Does this take time? Yes. Doesn’t that rub against the notion of productivity? No, and here’s why.
Networking is an investment. Like money and the effect of compound of interest, the more you put into networking the more you’ll get out of it. When you are known as a supporter and contributor you have positioned yourself to be the first person others think of when opportunities arise.
The power of a network – competition turned collaboration:
In the towns in outback Australia, almost everyone is involved in multiple sporting or community organisations, if not literally it certainly feels like it. That’s what it felt like to me when I lived in Longreach for a time. One of the many great things I love about Australia is the plethora of grants available for community groups. However, competition for grant money is tough.
Single groups vying for money inadvertently meant more groups missed out on grants than were awarded the much-needed funds. The impact is magnified in small towns as I was acutely aware of how the grants were awarded. Every club in town getting a grant all in the one grant round would never happen. It was suggested that the groups come together, network and find a way to pool resources, discuss needs and find commonalities.
The result was not just the formation of a ‘multi-group’ (their term), it also secured more grant money than they had previously. From competing for money to collaboration on so much more because they became a network. They underwent planning and strategy sessions as a whole group and applied the planning to their individual clubs, shared resources, volunteered for each other. Clubs were willing to hold out on applying in one grant round because they now knew another club had a greater, more timely, need.
In my early career I always sort out a network, it was predominantly industry based and was a great source of support, guidance, and fun. When I stepped into management roles had a variety of internal networks and found myself pulling away from specific industry networks and that left me feeling support and guidance was limited amongst my management peers. Management can be lonely and it often feels isolating, that doesn’t help anyone: the manager or the team. Finding a network is incredibly important for productivity. Had I found a network I know I would have made decisions faster with more confidence and would have asked for ideas that could have made life and work (for me and my team) much better.
Every manager needs a network!
Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.
This is one of the reasons for the Book Club for Professional Development: BCforPD™. When a group of diverse professionals come together to discuss the same book the opportunity to take away rich and varied perspectives; new learning; ideas for action; and a stronger network… it’s a no-brainer! It’s what I would have benefited from when I was a manager. You’re invited to join the club!