VOICE December 2017 - page 2

Planning your network is the key. We have contacts
in our mobile phone, our emails, company databases
and in our heads. The different locations require us
to spend time and energy maintaining this data. An
alternative is to create a strong network on LinkedIn
because each person on LinkedIn maintains their
own information and updates their profile whenever
there are changes, thus creating a virtual
environment. This immediately reduces your time
maintaining your network data.
But when it comes to networking, knowing a little
about the other person you want to connect to is also
important. Because, although there is not a national
culture across the world that doesn’t use some form
of networking, the style and approach to networking
will be influenced by that culture. For example, some
cultures such as the US, India and Western European
countries are quite comfortable with the directness
of a facility like LinkedIn where there is a level of
openness to who can contact you and vice versa. In
other cultures, networking is more closed and
discrete. China for example, has a culture where
networking has very specific rules built on high
levels of personal and mutual trust. They call it
‘guanxi’ which means ‘relationships’ and in a
business context equals the term ‘networking’. In
other
cultures,
trust
around
networking
opportunities may only come through networking
intermediaries such as business networking events
or ‘meet the buyer’ conferences.
So, you need to build your ‘well’ before you
are thirsty, but you also need to make sure
you build it in the right way for you and
with the best materials.
Once you have built your ‘well’, you need
very little effort to maintain it. Then you can
benefit from the advantages of having a well-
developed and well-maintained network. But
remember this is a two-way process and if you don’t
give as well as receive, your ‘well’ will dry up.
Guidance
. Using your network to gain guidance and
support when you need it can be invaluable, regard-
less of where in your career you are. So, building
and maintaining a network of industry contacts is
one simple way to ensure a continued level of poten-
tial guidance and support throughout your career.
Career Opportunities
. A crafted and well-
maintained professional network is likely to provide
career opportunities. While you may not be actively
looking to change positions, it’s likely your network
will pass on insight and give you potential oppor-
tunity into careers that were previously not on your
radar. Plus, within your network, you could be get-
ting early notification of vacant positions.
Generation of Business.
This is probably the most
obvious benefit and the reason most individuals de-
cide to build strong networks. Within a healthy and
varied network, you are bound to see some referrals
for business opportunities. Even better is that refer-
rals through networks are typically high quality and
more likely to lead to new business. Your task is to
follow them up and turn the leads into new busi-
ness.
Raising your profile
- Being visible and getting no-
ticed is a key benefit of networking. Make sure you
regularly attend virtual business and social events
that will help to get your profile known. Use your
networking skills to build your reputation as a
knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by
offering useful information or tips to people who
need them. The ‘pay forward’ for this activity is the
possibility of leads and referrals as you will be the
one uppermost in people’s minds.
Act like a Leader: Think like a Leader
by Herminia Ibarra
The whole premise of this book is about acting your
way into a new way of thinking. Ibarra calls this
the ‘outsight principle’ as opposed to an insight
principle. This is about encouraging you to do new
things and work with new and different people. To
do this you have to test old assumptions and exper-
iment with new possibilities. I like the whole con-
cept and could clearly see there would be great ad-
vantages by adopting this approach, even for a nat-
ural reflector! From a leadership perspective de-
veloping your outsight skills could have great op-
portunities especially when you are taking on a
new role or about to embark on a new career. Like-
wise, it would be a good approach to counteract the
possibility of complacency and
help you really think outside the
box on your career, your work and
your leadership style.
The book is packed with self-
assessments and practical advice
to help define your most pressing
leadership challenges. It’s time to
learn by doing. Well worth a read.
Book Review:
Karen Frost
1 3,4,5,6
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