Cultivate Your Network
One of the three keys to connecting is to cultivate your network. I use the word “cultivate” purposefully because when it comes to relationships, the law of the harvest holds true – we reap what we sow. We must methodically cultivate our relationships – they are our lifeline.
In today’s mobile world, our relationships are often the only constant. Excellent leaders are also resourceful people – they know how to access their network to quickly get stuff done. Any decent contact management system can help store and update contact information, track interactions and enter other helpful data (birthdays, special skills, personal hobbies, spouse’s name, etc.).
But managing contacts is necessary but not sufficient for cultivating relationships. Keep your network alive! Staying connected with colleagues helps us stay current with new trends, gives us ideas of where we might need to build our skills, and enables quick access to helpful resources when we need them.
The best leadership advice I ever received was about being resourceful – connecting resources to problems. A very wise professor once told me, "The key to success is not to know everything. The real key is being able to plug up your ignorance within 24 hours."
Initially, I responded with a chuckle since this advice came from someone who spoke 14 languages fluently, was a black belt martial artist and a racecar driver, in addition to being a college professor! However, once I let these words marinate in my mind, I appreciated how poignant and practical they were. It became a defining moment for me. I gained a quick and heightened appreciation of the value of being resourceful and staying connected.
As a result, I honed my ability to quickly access talent and information, so I could confidently address any leadership challenge. This advice was liberating in that I did not feel like I had to be the expert at everything... or anything for that matter!
It inspired me to build a strong professional network of experts and other resources. It also spurred me to learn how to ask the right questions to help identify the real problem, so I could harness the best resources for the solution. Now, in today's hyper-speed, mega-wired world, the standard for "plugging up your ignorance within 24 hours" has been cut to 8 hours!
Use every moment as an opportunity to cultivate your network.
I would love for you to connect with me and share you networking tips.