For better or worse… we are all extensions of the networks we have built – or the lack thereof. Those who are devoted to the intensive cultivation of the vine will prosper and grow, while those who do not, well, you can guess the outcome…
Ask any successful person which single skill has helped them to accelerate their career – an overwhelming majority will respond with one simple word… Networking.
We all know what makes the corporate world continue to expand and grow. It’s a giant social vine, with people dependent upon one another for success. Whether we like it (or care to acknowledge it) or not – we rely upon one another. We are very rarely solely responsible for our own achievements without the support and help of others.
That in mind, the single greatest skill you can develop is dynamic interdependence, which equates to NETWORKING. This is the most powerful marketing tactic you can employ to accelerate and sustain your own success! Few things will help you grow faster than a creating a strong network.
Dynamic Interdependence is about meeting people, developing contacts and exchanging information. It is about bearing fruit… and pruning, as necessary.
When cultivating vines, pruning is used to selectively remove unsuitable or extraneous shoots in your network, retaining the strong branches that are likely to bear fruit. This serves three functions:
1) to cultivate only high potential relationships for the current season of your career
2) to produce high potential contacts from which sustainable fruit can be selected for coming seasons and
3) to remove those shoots that will not grow into a valuable part of your network. You are a product of those you surround yourself with – It’s critical that you are prepared to nurture those high potential shoots, while at the same time willing to cut off those shoots you observe bearing no fruit – or worse, consistently producing bad fruit!
On the positive side, meeting and networking with the right people can lead to untold opportunities. Developing a network of dynamic interdependence translates into shared experiences, best-practices, and knowledge, culminating with shared professional development for everyone within the network! The reality is that you will not bear fruit yourself unless you remain tightly connected to the vine. The vine, your network, is the source and sustenance of your professional life – each and every shoot of your network relies on the vine in a dynamically interdependent way to survive and bear fruit.
Your pruning process will ultimately help you to bear more fruit. If there is no fruit on your vine, if there are no genuine connection points, you are in danger of falling off the vine. If you isolate yourself, you isolate your likelihood to succeed at the same time. Building a reliable network will increase your connectivity, your knowledge, your visibility, and most of all…your chance of success. Networking is about self-confidence, self-advocacy, and perhaps, self-discovery.
The old saying, “it isn’t what you know, but who you know” rings true. Statistics show that a staggering 70% of jobs are obtained through networking… Some believe that in this unstable economic climate, this statistic is considerably higher. I see it over and over again: Many senior level individuals go far, but eventually find themselves at a loss because they just haven’t built the network they need to take them from being a respected professional… to recognized expert… to a formal leader … to a member of a Corporate or Not For Profit Board of Directors.
They have hit the proverbial “Bedrock” – their roots have stopped growing, their vine has stopped expanding… Why? Primarily because they failed to build a sustainable network – both inside of and outside of the organization!
Don’t be fooled – THE VINE IS CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS!
Building a Network of Dynamic Interdependence provides the most productive, most proficient and most enduring tactic to build professional relationships. To succeed you need to continually connect with new people, cultivate emerging relationships and leverage your network.
There are many “vines” out there…
- You will get out of your network only what you put into it. If you attend events and meetings on a passive level, at best your network will become a novel social forum. You risk losing the fundamental reasons why you should seek to extend your vine in the first place.
- Dynamic Interdependence is not about belonging to a formal group — it’s critical to network both within your work environment and outside of it (for obvious reasons).
- Finally, do not just hunker down and do good work and wait for the world to stop and notice (as most people do) – it just won’t happen!
The truth is, you make your own choices. As a successful businessperson, will you choose to make your way alone or seek Dynamic Interdependence?
How Will You Focus On Extending Your Vine?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how networking has helped you to exceed your potential. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below. Check back soon for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.