The past couple of weeks I have been doing a considerable amount of thinking around the value of networking. Last week I was in Boston with Robert Hargrove and we spoke extensively about the value of networking to the Extreme Global Leader and how life in the global economy has changed us. This week I am at the SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) conference, and guess what? Still thinking about networking and how it has changed as we now commonly work across boundaries and borders.
Here are some fundamental insights and observations:
- The “new” economy was yesterday. You have to keep your playbook flexible because no one knows the audible that will be called next. Business cycles do exactly that – cycle, unpredictably. Your current teammates may or may not be on your team moving forward. If you need a job, money, advice, help, hope, or the means to make an important deal, there is only one definite way to succeed – through your extended network of friends and colleagues across boundaries and borders.
- Job security is also a relic of the past (similar to your throwback jersey) and your superior talent and experience will not save you in hard times. The day may come when the Head Coach tells you that you have been traded, or worse, released as a free agent! Tough day…guaranteed. However, if that day should come, having a strong network to fall back on can make your life a whole lot easier – a few phone calls and you could be walking onto the playing field with a whole new Extreme Team.
- There is no need to even the scoreboard when contemplating your network. Networking is not about what someone else can do for you, but really about how you can serve your extended team. The bottom line: It is far better to give than to receive – NEVER keep score and NEVER deny a potentially game altering assist. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, the rewards will follow.
- Global business is a fluid, competitive playing field. Yesterday’s team-mate is tomorrow’s competitor; tomorrow’s competitor may well be your team’s owner next season. Building a strong network outside of the impermeable walls of your organization is vital. Take the time, expand your horizons, and build your network from every conceivable direction – it is a critical part of that flexible play book.
- You are brand “YOU” – if you are not networking, you can bet no one knows you. No more are you the sum of your organizations brand, where your value as a member of the team was linked to your loyalty and seniority. Professional sports teams use branding to grow strong, enduring relationships with fans, not to mention to generate revenue. In today’s fluid, global playing field, you must do the same with your network. Your relationships and your reputation are the most explicit illustrations of who you are and what you have to offer as an extreme player on the field. If no one knows what you bring to the game, you can not be mobilized as a game-changing contributor.
- Contribute continually – it is like (legal) steroids for networks. The more you give your time, money, and expertise (with no stipulations or reservations) to your network, the more opportunity you have to be recognized as the MVP you are.
The greatest way you can repay your mentors, coaches, and other valuable teammates in your network is to continue the tradition of giving to your extended network and to continue to expand your network – it is a legacy that will continue to give and grow, and may eventually provide you with a place in the elusive Extreme Leader Hall of Fame.
Challenge: What are YOU doing to initiate an Extreme Network this week?
You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation in the ongoing discussions of Extreme Leaders Across Boundaries & Borders.