Inspiring And Enabling People
To Make A Difference
WB – It is very hard to give an exact figure, but every interaction with others is an opportunity to create, build and deepen the relationship you have with them, whether clients, suppliers, customers, family or colleagues. In that context, the percentage is pretty close to 100% and I do believe that I no longer work for a living, but network for it.
WB- Online networking allows your persona to be viewed both whilst you are there and whilst you are not; you are building an everlasting trail of information and commentary that you have written or that is written about you. Everything you do on-line has an tendency to feel like it is transient and yet it lasts forever. I use material I wrote years ago to support what I do now, and I develop new material to build on it. People add to and comment on my knowledge and the more I share it out the more it is built on by others. My knowledge, my expertise becomes visible to those who see and read my online material. When others see the expertise they are attracted to engage with me and relationships can develop and blossom. Out of those relationships flows work.The scariest thing is to share your business goals, but as soon as you do people know what they are and start helping you to achieve them, often in less obvious ways and often without you being aware of it. When your online presence is consistent and powerful enough, people who you don’t know start talking about you to people who you don’t know about helping you. That’s when the magic begins, but don’t expect it in a hurry and without a lot of work.
SP – Were you a good networker as an employee?
WB – I was a great believer in ‘Management by walking about’ and had good relationships at all levels in the business. I was one of the people who always seemed to know what was going on so I guess the instincts were strong. It’s much more a one -way street in those environments though.
SP – What were the benefits for your employer?
WB – As a result of being well connected in the organisation I was often facilitating quite big inter-departmental ‘deals’ to get big jobs done under the radar of the department heads. For example, I might persuade a member of Marketing team to work late on some numbers for accounts to free up a project accountant to deal with a budget issue that let an operations clerk work overtime – all to get a critical implementation finished. It wasn’t just the powers of persuasion so much as the knowledge of the links that gave the value. Getting things done, delivery without tears was the key benefit.
SP – What are the key differences / similarities between in-house and external networking?
WB – Its all about relationships, they are just the same, even though peoples underlying drivers may be different, and as the relationships build that fact becomes really apparent.
SP – What would be your top tips for people when building their business networks?
1. Don’t rush – You can’t do this in a day
2. Never look for a return for the help you give – ever.
3. Recognise that the return comes from an unexpected quarter at an unexpected time.
4. Everybody responds well to being thanked, the behaviour you thank is the behaviour you see repeated.
5. Your journey through life is yours and gives you a unique perspective on events, that makes your opinion valuable and allows you to always be adding to a relationship.
6. You do not know who someone else knows