Someone has said wisely, “Networking is like nutrition and fitness; we know what to do. The hard part is making it a top priority.”
Our world is strongly interconnected and hence, one cannot be successful within a reasonable time without leveraging the capabilities of others. One has to connect with people, network with them and build relationships. This is much beyond growing contacts and exchanging pleasantries. When we build relationships, we can stay in touch with people, follow the developments happening in their lives and professions and thus, explore opportunities of creating value for one another. This is not a discrete event; this is a deliberate investment of time and energy to know people, connect with them and keep in touch.
Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you create in people’s lives. Business leaders need to leverage the power of their networks in building competitive advantages in their business processes. Possibilities are immense: product design, technology, supply chain, manufacturing, marketing, sales and financing, in every aspect of an enterprise they can apply the best practices as they learn from the others. Not only can they generate a greater impact in their businesses, but also help the people in their networks to get better in their respective businesses.
Making it a priority
Meeting people isn’t easy; neither it is second nature for every human being to connect with people and build relationships. Hence, one has to invest time and effort to join groups, participate actively and contribute. Over time, one attends several sessions, picks up the habit of connecting with people and building relationships.
One of the challenges the leaders face is to get started on this. They stay in the comfort zone of their organisations where they are recognised for their position and authority. When one reaches a networking platform, one starts on ground zero and has a task at hand to establish oneself as one of the leaders in the industry. This is unfamiliar territory for many and hence, some step back from proactive efforts. As a result, the efforts do not start well and yield the necessary results.
One has to keep investing one’s time and efforts on the networking platforms: physical as well as digital ones like LinkedIn. We have to follow the developments in the industry and companies, also know people as individuals and appreciate the progress. We need to follow up the conversations by emails, texts and subsequent messages. The key objective should be to find a connection with the other person.
There is a huge opportunity for learning by reflections and listening intently to the updates shared by others. We have to ask the right questions!
Building personal relationships helps the cause further. Organisations have been able to find new alliances, partnerships, sources of finance, customer leads and many more by networking with leaders of companies in other sectors. New ideas and possibilities take shape as a result of such interactions; it can be a huge opportunity.
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