Savvy Networking: Grow Your Business and Your Career

Did you know that contacts are the bread of career life? In times of change, information and relationships are a source of power. Savvy networking will help you to tap into this power to grow your business and your career.

Savvy networking is a systematic process of establishing and maintaining relationships for seeking out information and resources in order to accomplish specific goals. Its focus is on the building of rapport and long term interactions rather than quick, short-term connections of 'here today gone tomorrow'. Its purpose is to access all kinds of information and a wide variety of resources in order to achieve one's individual career goals as well as one's team or work group's objectives.

Some of you may have a negative opinion of networking. Some of you may think it is a selfish or egotistical activity with an emphasis on, "What can this person do for me?" However, savvy networking is not only committed to the meeting of your goals but also must be concerned with the following:

"How can I specifically be of help to this other person or team? What is it that I can give? What kinds of information do I have access to? Or what kinds of support can I provide?"

Reciprocity is the key. It is the getting of what you need to achieve your goals or perform your job effectively as well as the giving to others what they need in order to achieve their goals or do their job more effectively.

In savvy networking, peer relationships are more important than ever given the rise of team based organizations. As the leader of these work or project teams, your challenge is that you may not have the formal authority over people whose support you need. For example, you may be tasked with accomplishing the following:

  • assembling a group of people of different backgrounds or from different areas to work together.
  • obtaining essential resources from others such as information, technical expertise or political backing.
  • coordinating efforts with other teams who have their set of priorities which may be different than yours.
  • Your ability to get the job done hinges first on your success in cultivating, mobilizing, and maintaining relationships with others. Second, it is dependent on your ability to influence or gain cooperation from these people to accomplish specific goals.

    Stephen Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states: "Interdependence, not independence, is the new watch word." Forget being the Lone Ranger! Connect for success. Start building dynamic networks and relationships.

    Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ­ to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to http://leadershiphooks.com/ and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ­ resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ­ fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

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