The first time I heard the term networking was back in my Engineering days! In those good old days when I was an Electronics and Electrical Engineering student, my area of specializaton then bordered around networking. In fact right in my part 4 I became a Cisco Certified Network Associate. I understood networking well, knew all the layers and protocols or so i thought!
Networking in the real world of human beings is one of the most useful skills in building either your career or business. In achieving your life purpose, in career development or business, there are some factors called “Critical Success Factors” (CSF). These are factors that are necessary to your achieving anything significant. They are the make or break of your business or career, if any one of the factors you have identified as critical to your success is missing, then your business or career is in a jam. Networking is a skill that is critical to success in any area of business or career.
“More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject.” Peter Drucker
Coming from the world’s most respected management consultant, that’s a big one. Whether you get that deal or don’t, your next promotion, your next assignment, may well be finalized over a cup of coffee or over a bottle of rum. Beyond where your eyes can see, decisions are being made about you. You are not there to defend yourself, you can’t lend clarity to their arguements. What gives you a say in those places is your power of networking.
I’m certain you are wondering, what is networking? How can I leverage it to my own advantage? I’ll give you quick bullet points that we can build on with time into what it is and what it’s not.
First, networking is not bootlicking or ***kissing. No matter how good you are at bootlicking, you’ll always get replaced by real polish. If you always agree with everybody around you, you are not necessary- it will soon be discovered.
It’s not politicking either. This works shortterm. It involves forming parties, having cliques and painting other parties black. He that tells me of others will surely tell others of me. It’s only a matter of time. Soon someone will decamp, the winds will blow and the world will see the naked butt of the chicken. Trouble will break loose, and the world will know what you were cooking when the house got burnt.
“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” Bob Burg
Good networking involves meeting people at the point of their needs, having quality relationships with people, taking time and effort to seek win-wins, making the most of every contact, leaving a true and good impression and aftertaste on the tongues of people. Good networking is not about how many biggies you know, it’s about the quality and strength of your relationship even with the small people. That cleaner might just be there when they are discussing you…what will she have to say about you?