The Networks Leaders Must Create
The Networks Leaders Must Create.
Networking. Even its very label sends shivers down the spine of most people. The word conjures up terror, awkwardness. “Networking feels inauthentic, uncomfortable and ’horrible’, I hate it!” or “I never know what to say. I avoid networking.” And these are just a few of the more positive things women have said to me! Successful leaders create networks. It’s critical to all forms of success, for whatever your goals and aspirations are.
Today’s article and video is focused on the networks that leaders must create (and the value of doing it from a place of service).
So why is networking so critical to workplace success?
Put simply, working hard and keeping your head down WILL NOT get you to where you want to get to.
Firstly, let’s be clear on what networking is.
Well, firstly it’s best known as the number one strategy for getting a good job. Health Warning. Most people see the value of networking when they have just been laid off. Their LinkedIn Profile goes through the roof. They start contacting people they haven’t spoken to for years. This is not the way to build and develop a strong network. Don’t fall into the Loser trap! People can see straight through you.
Networking is about relationships.
Networking is something that is an essential part of your role. It should have as high a priority as your daily shower or morning cup of coffee.
I love this definition by Angela Hackett:
“Networking is talking and connecting with people with NO ulterior motive. It’s a desire to learn and expand your world.”
Suddenly doesn’t networking seem so much more relevant and motivating?
A great framework for creating successful networks is shared in the video below. It’s work that was originally shared in a Harvard Business Review and it’s great:
EY (Ernst and Young) recently commissioned research to look into how professionals are networking now and how this may change in the future. (You can check out their full research paper here: http://ukcareers.ey.com/white_papers/6676_EY_A4_WhitePaper_280314.pdf).
Here’s some of their interesting findings:
- Networking is now seen as a “Core Business Skill”
- Apparently 1 in 4 professionals DON’T network at all
- And 65% of people prefer to network in person
Now that last statements has to be a fascinating statistic. Despite the drive for social media , an insatiable need to be on facebook throughout the day and thousands of people joining LinkedIn every day, the majority of us would still prefer to meet in person.
So let’s get clear as to why networking is so critical:
- Employee referrals are still the number one way to get hired. Typically someone in your network will have insider information about new positions and opportunities before they go public. How many times have people asked you – Do you know of someone who could do x?
You need to be the person they think of when a great opportunity lands.
- Creating a Community. This is all about learning and sharing information and knowledge. Here you can draw upon other people’s experiences, advice and wisdom when you get stuck or want to bounce some ideas off others.
- Six Degrees of Separation. There’s a general rule of thumb that says we are never more than six degrees away from another. Most people know someone who knows the person you want to know! According to the author of “How to be a Power Connector” by Judy Robinett, most people know an average of 632 people. That’s a lot of people!
And Finally, when networking remember the golden rule of 3:
- Golden Rule Number 1 – Be Interested in Other People. Genuinely Interested.
- Golden Rule Number 2 – Make sure other people know what you are about – your skills, interests, passions, talents and something that will help them remember you
- Golden Rule Number 3 – Follow up. Be clear about how to get hold of each other. Follow up graciously. Always thank the other person and look for creative ways to keep in touch.
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