At INSEAD, my MBA school, I was constantly reminded of the importance of networking. I had never actively “networked” prior to that with any purpose or intention. Even so, the word networking made me shudder – thinking of it as a means of using people. I was just too shy to do it. It was embarrassing to use people to gain personal momentum, I thought….
My father however, had been adept at it. All my life, I had watched him give special care to all relationships big or small – often much to the annoyance of the family. He would go out of the way to help people, to connect people, and when required he would not hesitate to call upon people for something he needed help with. Today, he is a highly established business man, very well respected and has somewhat of an empire of his own, having started from scratch.
As life went on, and I matured, I realized the folly of my thinking. As it happened, most of my work assignments came to me via my networks. At various stages in my career, both as an entrepreneur and as a Business Development professional, I had not much choice other than to leverage my networks to get work done.
There is a secret however, to being skilled at this thing called Networking. The secret is to be willing to give more than to take. One of the greatest attributes of my father, which has been of monumental contribution to his success and inspiring to me personally, is his ability to help anyone in need. He never said no to anyone who approached him for help – be it financial or personal. That, right there was his secret. Because he was always open to helping others, he felt that others would be like him when he reached out, and most of the time they delivered. This attitude, I have observed to be the common factor in all the genuinely successful people I know. They are open to connecting people, even when they have nothing to gain and they are open to reaching out to people, when they need help. This inherent tendency flows from people who understand and exemplify a value called Collaboration. The world is getting increasingly complex, moving at such a fast pace, that one simply cannot single – handedly keep abreast with everything – Collaborating with people on all fronts is key to personal and collective evolution. The power of two is greater than one and the power of your network is as many fold as the number of people in your network.
To conclude –
1. View Networking as Collaborating
2. Collaborating is connecting with others and connecting others to others
3. Collaborating is knowledge and information sharing
4. Collaborating is opening your minds and hearts to let more flow in and out.
5. Last but not the least, Collaboration is the opposite of Competition – It is thinking bigger, better, thinking of the greater good of all, not just the tiny Me, Myself and I.
Highly astute leaders and organizations get this and deeply imbibe Collaboration as a core value within themselves and their people. To understand more about individual and organizational values, please contact me here.