Wednesday, 16 February 2011

And THAT's how it’s DONE – Networking Strategy

First published in 2008

During the past few days I was in the lucky position to observe serious networking – and I mean SERIOUS networking, real big business. Having Heather’s follow-up workshop coincide with this business meeting, I first thought that this was unfortunate as I was flying between tasks and didn’t think I would be able to take as much from it as I would have liked. However, in the end it turned out that the workshop had sharpened my eye and given me the background to understand that there is a method behind their doings.

She had addressed three striking things which I found confirmed in watching these pros in action.

Firstly: They have a vision
And they are not scared to dedicate their lives for it! … or if they are, they don’t show it. For them there are no real limits. They believe in themselves. They see the benefits, formulate them in a way that they become win-win games … and then go for it.

I always think too far ahead about everything that might or might not happen, falling into all sorts of worries and then don’t even start. They deal with the problems when they occur and not when they crop up in their fantasy. And if they reach a point of no return which might mean going BIG or not going anywhere at all: They evaluate the risk and when things are are looking good: Then they go for BIG without hesitation and pull through.

Secondly: They have a plan.
They develop a networking strategy. They look at the outcome they want, they may lay down several possible versions at the beginning or adjust as they go along. Nevertheless, they identify the key players in the game and then they target them.

For that they need a good basic network of people they can trust and of whom they exactly know the skill set. These people then develop their vision further and bring it to the right people and make the contacts.

Thirdly: They work hard.
Say what you want!
Working hard to get your act together!
A vision is not something fluffy. It needs to be formulated in a way that you can present it to different types of people. That means, that the vision – a thing that is nothing but an idea stuck in your head – sounds as true as if it already existed. People who are targeted to participate need to leave the meeting with a feeling that this is the right and only way to do it, and they need to be so confident about this idea so that they will propagate it further. Meaning: turning vision into fact.

Take calculated risks!
Working hard to keep your network close
Once you know what you want, you can start the actual networking, using the right contacts to get the information you need to underpin your vision, to drive it forward, to expand the network to get more information and to find people to drive it forward, ….

Decisions are to be made and targets to be stretched constantly, and to be able to do that that the network needs to be kept tightly knitted and the key players need to be kept close in order to have the right information at the right time.

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