There are three key accelerators to a person’s success: integrity, knowledge and network. While there are other things that are important to success, these are key drivers. However, you are powerless without a personal network! The larger and stronger your business network is, the more powerful you become. Most people focus their attention on integrity and knowledge. However, the highly successful business people have figured out that building their network is essential to promoting their uniqueness as well as furthering a higher degree of success. You cannot build empires alone. Nonetheless, even if you are not trying to build an empire, it is always simpler to accomplish things with many people’s help than to try to go it alone.
I am very involved at Florida International University, my Alma Mater. As a member of a group called the Alumni Circle of the College of Business Administration, I helped a special committee called Business Readiness whose function was to work with the college’s Deans and staff on a special project to determine how to help graduates become “business ready” upon graduation. One of the areas that surfaced in our study was that college students did not how to effectively network. The school has subsequently created a series of seminars on business networking, in which I was proud to be included as one of the keynote speakers.
Business networking is not just for sales people. From the day you enter your first job, you need to start getting to know everyone you can. Inside your organization, learn what the other departments do, who does what, and take a genuine interest in your co-workers. Have weekly lunches with people in other departments. You want everyone to get to know you and to be on the same team. This may not be important today, but as you advance in the organization, these other people may become critical to your success. They may even become your bosses and/or subordinates. In addition, the higher you advance in the organization, the less important your technical skills become and the more important your people or soft skills become. Start developing them immediately!
You need to work on networking outside of the organization as well. The different ways to build your network is covered in a later article, but even if you are not in sales – building your network is very important. Many compensation and other business opportunities occur because of reputation built in a network of people. You will find big promotions inside or outside your company when a large group of people are acknowledging your assets. On a less happy note, many good and talented people have been laid off from a job because of things like company relocation, company being sold, or some other situation that has nothing to do with job performance. The higher you are on the totem pole, the more important the role your network may play in quickly finding new work.
Business networking also provides resources quickly and efficiently. During any given week, we all need information, products, services, and people. I would much rather go to people I know and trust to find such important needs than to the Google search engine or some other unknown source. While these sources may provide leads, there is still a lot of due diligence work one must undertake to check out those leads. After all, just because a company has a big ad or is a first hit, it may only mean that their web developers were smart or that they had a lot of money to spend to get that position. In contrast, when our own network provides the needed resource we can feel comfortable that proper due diligence was undertaken. Utilizing our business network saves us time and money.
So if you want to increase your success, expand your network. Business networking is important for many reasons and can benefit you no matter your title, rank, or function in an organization. You need to nurture your network just as you do knowledge. You need to work at business networking daily, and continue to build it over time so it is abundant and diversified.
Activate Group Inc. helps business leaders and entrepreneurs develop their networking skills through executive business coaching. Learn more how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or [email link=”true”] for a FREE consultation with one of the top business coaches in the United States.