This series continues based on the premise that effective leadership requires certain interpersonal skills and many of these same skills are necessary to advance any career. So where should we go next with the discussion? I don’t know if it matters. Let’s just dive in and see what happens.
The book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi reminds me of the countless lunches I had alone in my office. Sorting through email, reading, listening to the radio, playing hearts on the network, or getting caught up on paperwork all seemed like good uses of the lunch hour. Sometimes I worked out at the gym, which is a good thing. But, for 26 years few of those five-per-week lunch hours were spent meeting new people and making professional connections. It seemed unimportant at the time. As I was putting the finishing touches on this post, I received the following from Brian Tracy:
“A recent IBM study found that each contact in a person’s network was worth $948. In other words, that person you know with 100 more LinkedIn contacts than you could, on average, be worth $100,000 more per year! … In an age when professional success belongs to the highly networked, a new blueprint is needed.”
Today, I’m asking, “What if?” What if I had received an email like this 10 years earlier? What if I had learned the art of business networking in college? What if I had heard John C. Maxwell’s definition that “leadership is influence?” What if I had understood that good business connections can help my career AND provide more opportunities to serve others?
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”
– Mother Teresa, humanitarian.
What if I had used networking to improve my communication skills? What if I had realized that networking can be fun, even for introverts like me? What if I had treated networking as a strategic career-building tool? Some weighty questions, for sure.
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
– Keith Ferrazzi, author.
Fortunately, even without Mr. Ferrazzi’s book, I eventually discovered business networking. Since then, I’ve learned that limiting networking is career limiting and that those who intentionally and strategically develop professional relationships have significant career advantages over those who don’t.
“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”
– Margaret Wheatley, author.
Here are three questions for reflection:
- “Are my business networking practices sabotaging my career?”
- “What is my networking template?”
- “What opportunities might I find by altering my approach?”