Networking Only Goes So Far
During the past decade, many business authors have praised the value of networking. Books, articles and blog posts have lauded the value of networking in helping people secure professional positions.
Authors have written about how young people can utilize LinkedIn, other social media sites, professional conferences, social occasions, and even family get-togethers to engage in networking.
Too frequently, typical networking leads to an exchange of business cards or airdropped email addresses with a promise of future communication by phone, email or text. People are very well-meaning. Then nothing happens.
If you have been following this newsletter for the 81 weeks I’ve been writing (all previous iterations are readable on my web site), you know that my professional motto is “it’s all about relationships.”
Cultivating relationships is not the same as engaging in networking. Moreover, cultivating relationships is not sufficient. We must sustain relationships as well.
John Maxwell, the prolific leadership author, wrote a book in 2010 titled “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” As you pursue your career goals, I urge you to keep that distinction in mind. Our success is often based on the contributions and wisdom of the people with whom we connect inside and outside the workplace.
Therefore, instead of worrying about the quantity of your relationships achieved through networking, please concern yourself with the quality of your relationships achieved through serious relationship building.
To advance your career:
-Identify potential mentors,
-Read about these people,
-Express your desire to learn from them,
-Pursue them as a valuable teachers. and
-Think about what you can offer them
I have always strived to maintain healthy relationships with the people I’ve shared workplaces I can guarantee you that during the past four decades, I’ve learned so much more from them than they have learned from me.
It’s all about relationships, not networking!