Do you want to be more successful and have a better probability of accomplishing your objectives? You do, of course. As a result, you’re undoubtedly aware that you need to network. A good network is similar to a spider’s web; without it, you’ll never be able to catch what you’re looking for.
However, the days of being a terrific networker are gone. Today, you should try to be a power connector, a networker who not only builds networks for themselves, but also for everyone in their network. So, how can you progress from being a competent networker to a true power connector? Judy Robinett’s book, How to Be a Power Connector, explains it all.
You can’t do business in isolation in today’s very complex environment. You need strategic partnerships — ones that generate mutual value in the form of information, contacts, money, and so on, so that everyone benefits.
There are various advantages to strategic connections. People will make assumptions about your identity and social status based on your network. People will look at you differently if they know you personally know Mark Zuckerberg, even if you don’t share his successes (like founding Facebook). As a result, your network sets you apart from others.
Furthermore, belonging to a powerful network gives you additional power. Your network resembles a gang on the streets. To inspire fear or respect in others, you don’t have to have committed a crime. You can gain those advantages merely by being a member of a group with a good reputation.
Finally, a robust network can provide you with access to private information or provide you with access to information that would otherwise be unavailable. You can simply ask your network for information or a favor if you ever require it. If they are unable to assist you, they can consult their contacts, and hopefully you will be able to obtain what you require. That is the power of a well-connected network.
Do you have a well-developed strategic network? Asking the following questions is a good method to find out:
• What is the size of your strategic quotient (SQ), or the proportion of strategic relationships to other network relationships?
• On a regular basis, how many persons do you communicate with? Is there any extra value in this communication?
• Do you have a “wish list” of persons with whom you’d like to connect? Do you have a strategy in place to make your dreams come true?
When was the last time you aided someone by connecting them with someone who could help them solve their problem? Power connectors, for example, do this all the time. People (especially those with resources) and networks are brought together by power connections to establish a collective that works for the greater good.
Consider the case of a scientist working at a biotech start-up in the United States. The company wants to expand internationally, and the scientist’s father-in-law is friends with the mayor of a tiny German town where a pharma plant recently closed. So, through his father-in-law, he establishes a link between his boss and the mayor, and the biotech start-up is allowed to restart the plant.
Like the rest of us, power connectors have a finite amount of time. As a result, prioritization and structure are critical. Using the 5+50+100-Rule, it’s a good idea to categorize your relationships with individuals in rings, like an onion, with the most significant at the center.
Your inner circle is represented by your Top 5. These are the five people with whom you have a strong bond, such as your spouse, parents, best friend, and business partner, and who would go to any length for you. You think about these folks on a daily basis and communicate with them at least once a week.
The Key 50, or the 50 people with whom you have valuable ties, such as friends and associates, are the next circle. You keep in touch with these folks on a regular basis (preferably once a week) and try to offer value to their lives. Your Vital 100, your more distant friends and business contacts, make up the last circle. These are people you enjoy spending time with but only speak with once a month. If you phoned them, they would undoubtedly assist you. It’s for this reason that you should keep these connections going.
You’ll have the foundation for strategic relationship planning once you’ve categorized connections using the 5+50+100 rule. It may seem self-evident, but people have a lot in common with their friends, or at the very least, they have similar interests and ideals. Is this commonality, however, beneficial to your business network?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no Because heterogeneity fosters invention and creativity, it’s worth your time to step outside of your comfort zone and broaden, deepen, and strengthen your network. A large network means you have ties to people who are not like you; whether it’s their industry, their interests, or simply their age, these people have different viewpoints than you. Consider the distinctions between the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennial generation. You’ll need both if you want a broad perspective.
A deep network is multi-layered in the sense that it provides multiple paths to achieving a goal. For example, how many connections in your network could assist you in reaching out to your city’s mayor? If you want to do this, you should try to have as many as possible.
The robustness of a network refers to how willing people are to support one another. Are the people in your network receptive to your requests? Do they promptly return your calls and eagerly respond to your inquiries? If they do, your network is likely to be stable. Creating a broad, deep, and resilient network may appear to be a daunting task. Fortunately, there is a simple strategy you can employ to accomplish this: seek out people who disagree with you.
If you’re a staunch Catholic, for example, look for Buddhists to add to your network. You don’t have to talk about your faith, and you can discover a lot of things in common that you didn’t expect, such as a charitable spirit or a fervent support for the local football team. You want these individuals in your life because the more diverse they are, the more likely they are to be able to connect you with people you would not have met on your own.
Consider the direction you wish to take your career. There are power centers in every field and sector where you may locate the best resources to get you where you want to go. High activity and influence describe these areas, or ecosystems. An ecosystem is a web of commercial and private ties built on shared interests. Consider the ecosystem to be the best atmosphere for your work, whatever it is, with a plethora of potential contacts and chances.
If you’re writing a novel, for example, you can work from any location. When it comes time to publish, though, unless you’re in the correct place, you can find yourself stuck. To have the best chance of publishing, you must first identify your country’s publishing ecosystem.
It’s crucial to find out who you want to meet and what you have to offer before attempting to enter a new ecosystem. Finally, are you a suitable fit for the ecosystem you’re aiming towards? Do you have the appearance and demeanor of someone who belongs in that environment? Once you’ve answered these questions, it’ll be much easier to discover the proper habitat. It’s also important to realize that you have your own ecosystem, which includes things like your family and friends, as well as your passions and interests.
Your local community is another example of such an ecosystem. Volunteering in your community is not only intrinsically satisfying, but it also introduces you to a variety of people you might not have encountered otherwise. Steve Jobs went one step further by recommending that you donate money or time to the charity of people you want to meet. You never know who will show up to that charity’s Christmas celebration!
Check out my related post: How do you find your how to your why?