Much has been said of networking at â€œSix Degrees from Daveâ€ but too often we discuss process and spend little time focusing on the substance of relationships which is where the power of a network actually resides. Numbers are easy to measure but the true value of a network is based on the strength of a core group of relationships within key “niches” that can supply you with vital assistance.
Your network can be especially useful in supplying information. Humility demands that we seek counsel from our peers and I am never shy to ask for help because there will always be someone who knows a more than I do about some specific thing.
As I considered todayâ€™s posting, for instance, I recalled the wisdom of someone I am honored to refer to as a â€˜mentor.â€™ I always take pride in knowing that this friend cares about my progress in my career and as a person and, today, I remembered an extraordinary conversation in which this heartfelt connection was fully expressed. The topic was networking, a key source of strength and wisdom in our lives, and my friend took the time to explain clearly the lessons that had served him well.
“1) Never demand or expect reciprocation and as your career progresses, remember to remain humble and deflate your pride regularly and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon you, regularly. Welcome the day when a student exceeds us. We sometimes slip and come off a bit lofty but we are lucky that trusted colleagues feel comfortable communicating areas for self improvement and acknowledge when we are wrong. Never fear in pointing out when those we care about are out of line.
2) Always brag about those AROUND you not about Yourself. Edify your peers and your friends and together you build a much bigger and stronger house. They donâ€™t know it because you simply say so, they know it because â€˜I do soâ€™ is your modus operandi. What you do for them proves how you feel about others.
3) Being bold is about taking risk and being vulnerable yet powerful at the same time. It is not about announcing your success. If you are successful there is no need for announcement. Unless you are champion of the world donâ€™t go telling people you are champion of the world â€¦ If you do, the world will see only a fool and the world doesnâ€™t suffer fools for too long. or clowns either.
4) Don’t burden your friends with introductions unless they are deserved. Bring people to those you value and who can add to OUR tribe, not those seeking to build their own. Bring people to me only when you have a plan and I promise to do the same for you. Your network is only as valuable as the connections are strong. Weak connections make a weak network. Tier your network into â€˜A, â€˜B, and â€˜C leagues. Connect your Aâ€™s to each other, your Bâ€™s to each other and so on, that way they gather power within their own league. Once in a while a â€˜B deserves to be an A so you promote them and connects them with other Aâ€™s but you introduce new Aâ€™s to other new Aâ€™s. Donâ€™t introduce an old â€˜A to a recently promoted â€˜A, unless you have had successful intros with that new â€˜A already. Never ever introduce and â€˜A to a â€˜C. Its OK to know lots of â€˜Câ€™s but your network is measured buy how well your Bs work together, how many of your Bs become As and now many of those Aâ€™s know you and think of you as an A in return. Aspire to never be a C in someone elseâ€™s network. Itâ€™s OK to be a â€˜B and grow to an A but Câ€™s are there because they got demoted from Bâ€™s. In my head everyone starts as a B unless they prove to be an â€˜A or a â€˜C. Its not who you know, my friend, itâ€™s WHO KNOWS YOU!!!
5) Never endorse anything or anyone ever unless you are willing to give up your reputation, or anything as meaningful. You can support, and use, and review, and discuss, and talk about, and be a fan ofâ€¦ but do not endorse unless you are absolutely one hundred percent certain that what you are endorsing is of better quality that YOU
6) The opposite of 5 is true – Don’t be endorsed by anything that is not an improvement upon you in at least one area. We all have areas where we excel, and just the same areas we need to improve upon. Make sure each and every person surrounding you has at least ONE thing where they clearly excel over you. It is easy to start a huge throbbing mob of a fan club full of thousands of the foolhardy amongst us, but I prefer to have a very small fan club of truly wonderful, significant, deep, intelligent, caring people who have arrived to be my fans because I am their fan and I believe in them just as much or more than the believe in me and they have proven to themselves that I have at least ONE thing in which I excel over them and can only hope to some day aspire to teach them. This small but powerful club can accomplish much more than a throbbing mass of unconvinced lemmings and zombies who lack conviction and are scratching at each others throats or eyes.â€
LinkedIn, OpenBC, Spoke, Jibber Jobber, etc. do not necessarily establish a truly networked result. To qualitatively network one â€œmust nurture relationships not simply forward requests. (B) Optimal networking emphasizes who knows you not the other way around. New relationships offer new ideas on what other directions/venues I need to develop and/or frequent. It sounds clichÃ©d, but relationships are the common denominator which builds your base, your knowledge and you make a few great friends along the way.
Thank you, Shally Steckerl, and all those willing to teach us to become something better than we were and yet strive to be. It’s important to care enough to apply relationships in a manner which ensure that networking never loses its humanity. I remind myself each time I read each rule that networking is about people and that is of great value in itself.
And, thank you, readers, for making Six Degrees something to talk about. If there is anything that matters to our peers in the recruitment industry, it is the desire to become a Cybersleuth, to become networked, and, above, all to become a friend.
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