Johns Hopkins University Fellows

jhu_careyIt was mid-November 2006 at Johns Hopkins University Mt. Washington campus that I first met with the 30 students and 6 faculty that would make up the Fellows inaugural class. This past weekend 26 of those students, including myself, completed our MBA degree program and spent time together celebrating the successes of the past two years.

Changing Seasons
It is in these moments that I am reminded that life’s seasons must come and go; each one with its own share of difficulties and opportunity. As I enter this next season I find it hard to leave the last one behind, but I choose to embrace whatever is next so I do not let the new season slip through my fingers.

To the Inaugural Fellows Cohort
To my classmates, congratulations! It has been a long journey in which we experienced an unparalleled MBA program that challenged our theory of how we learn and replaced that theory with life experiences and consulting opportunities that resulted in true education. I consider you my friends, as well as my fellows.

To my professors, thank you! Rick, for your leadership and vision for this program; Sheri, for your dedication to a well rounded learning process; Cris, for your enthusiasm and challenge for excellence; Bill, for your unwavering commitment to our education; and Capers, for living out your call to mentor and advise others. You are truly a distinguished faculty, a group that I am grateful to call my friends.

Congratulations Fellows!
Congratulations to the Class of 2008 Fellows from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School:

Todd Meyer, Jeanette Koon, Chien Cheng, Hadi Annous, James Davis, Ali Askari, Ruksana Khan, Gina Kwack, Kulbir Singh Sandhu, Joy Prakash Nanda, George Wilson Hilton III, Mark Bradshaw Kraeling, Tim Klabunde, Gene Theus, Eric Cory McKim, Scott Boring, Robin Costa, Shirley Knox-Murry, Robert A. McFadden, John R. Sedivy, Jonathan Edison Bradley, Kranthi Mupparaju, Dawn Elyce Kemp, Kwame Kuadey, Segun Toyin Dawodu, and Robert White

I look forward to changing the world with all of you!

Business Networking at your Company

peopledigital1Networking is “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Notice that it isn’t something that happens solely at ‘networking functions’ or even something that happens just with people that don’t work at your company. Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships that make life easy and more productive for both parties, even with others in your company.

Redefine your perception of Networking

My good friend Mark has an old computer and as a result he often places requests in to his IT department for service. The problem is that every time he calls they come and do yet another ‘quick fix’ that never fully eliminates his computer problems. When Mark first started working at his company 3 years ago the IT department tried to be helpful, but after three years of constant calls, the IT staff is no longer motivated to help Mark. While the IT department has to provide a minimum level of service, (quick fixes) they, like most IT departments, regularly face a lack of time and resources, meaning that their best service is reserved for their best customers.

Solving the IT problem

What would happen if Mark started helping the IT department? Instead of complaining he started cleaning up his server space, stopped installing programs from the Internet, supported them in meetings, respected their time, took them out to lunch, thanked them when they helped him, and generally did everything he could to help them out. Just as it does with others outside your company, this type of action creates the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship, and in this case, probably a new computer.

Successful Business Relationships include Networking

Mark’s problem is the same as faced by thousands of others every day. It might be your accounting department, marketing department, coworkers, or administrative staff, but in each case it is usually a relationship problem.

Think about your relationships around the office; are people quick to help you succeed because you are always helping them succeed? If not, try the proven method to build a relationship: put yourself and your needs aside and simply focus on helping the other person, you’ll be amazed at how they want to help you in return.

Defining Success

tree-in-palmAs a marketing professional I would have previously defined success as my ability to bring work in the door. Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that success did not come down to winning projects, but rather, it came down to relationships (through which you can also greatly increase your ability to win work). However, as I grow, I continue to learn and dig deeper into this idea of success.

Success for me
A light came on a couple of years ago when I was reading the networking chapter in Ford Harding’s book Rain Making. In that chapter he reminds us that networking is really just about helping other people. From this simple concept I have developed an approach to networking and life that I believe yields success. I summarized these thoughts in the post, Why Help Other People, when I wrote that “I believe that the best way to succeed in life, and business, is to help other people.  A life built around helping others will yield not just the joys of relationships, but also the sweet success of achieving your own goals.”

Your turn
My real question here is for you; how do you define success? I am working to refine my own thoughts on this topic and would appreciate your insights. At the top of this post is a link to the “comments” section. Please use it to let me know how you define success, so that I and hundreds of others can learn from you.

“Fifteen Minutes Can Save You Millions”


I had a great conversation with Shannah Alloway Hayley of Urban Design Group earlier this week about how to build success on the world-wide-web. As we spoke I couldn’t help but think about Matt Handal’s Construction Netcast that is sponsored by his company, Trauner Consulting Services, Inc. The key to building a great web presence is providing value and helping other people, something that Matt has excelled at through the monthly netcast.

Brochure or Value
What about your website? Is it a Web 1.0 brochure, or a Web 2.0 environment that truly benefits those that visit it? Have you recently checked your Google PageRank to see how you are doing?

Construction Netcast as a model for Web 2.0
Here is a brief overview of Construction Netcast: “Learn from experts with decades of experience who have taught thousands of construction professionals across the country. Each month, we will discuss the issues that affect your projects. Topics include project scheduling, claims avoidance, specification writing, alternative procurement methods, contracting best practices, and many others. You can enjoy these programs on your computer, pda, ipod, or other portable devices. You can also subscribe for free and receive these programs on a monthly basis. The result:   training you need when it’s convenient for you… Fifteen Minutes Can Save You Millions – That is what I call creating value, nice work Trauner Consulting.