Monday, November 15, 2010

Active & Proactive Networking

Do you build alliances and partnerships in your business? Do you form collaborations with others? Have you integrated other expertise into your projects and assignments? Do you view your world as friend or foe?

If business was a game, and it was fun why then do we treat each other as adversaries? If you are strongly committed to military strategies as your analogies to business strategies, then business is war. The field of business becomes your battlefield. Business tactics and strategies become entwined with deception, attack, and defence; there will only be win-lose for war is about winning battles, and battlefields of the mind. Unless you believe that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Be aware, cognizant and discerning when you read books like Sun Tze’s Art of War, The 36 Strategies, and military strategies of Hannibal, Napolean, Rommel, and the like. There is a reason why they are experts – in their fields – and not in business. In business, we apply different beliefs, values and processes. It is not always relevant that ‘to win the war, we lose the battle’. Collateral damage and casualties of war may not be part of everyone’s vocabulary and approach.

When you participate in networking, are you passive or active? How does networking add value to your business and cause? Do you successfully raise funds (to support your charity) through your networks of human connections? Do you seek new opportunities from such relationships? Do you leverage on such networks to check out your competition?

Networking is a process that involves large amounts of energy. You get out what you put in. That is the Law of Reciprocity. Parasitic relationships do not last, as there is no re-investment of energy. We need to ensure that circulation is kept going, so that it does not build stagnancy and clots. Clots confuse and create undesired results.

As you expand your web of influence, you need to be engaging and be engaged with others, their purpose and cause. Some of these are intrinsically personal and selfish, yet as a web of invisible threads, we are simultaneously connected and related to others. The Six Degree of Separation invites us to realise our dreams and goals. We attract others to us via our values. These include consideration, endurance, teamwork, diligence, challenge, professional, fairness, resourcefulness and performance.

What are you doing to maintain all your relationships? Are you seriously in touch with all your Facebook and LinkedIn friends? Or, is it just a numbers game to entertain one’s ego and sense of importance? Use Social Media 2.0, or return to Old School ways: call a friend for a coffee. Enjoy a chat. Engage in conversations. Express your ideas, however different these may be. Seek consensus. Invite criticism and feedback. Live with dissonance. Learn. Change, develop and grow.

Get connecting.

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