I am often asked “Why should I network” during training sessions on Networking. It is a simple question with an answer that can change the way you interact with others and the way you live your life. Below is a summary of my answer, the powerful truth of why you should network…
“Networking is about you, not about a company. If you are a project manger, the projects you work on will stay here when you leave. If you are an engineer, the designs you work on will stay here when you leave. If you are an accountant, the money you work with better stay here when you leave. However, one of the few things that you will take with you (and that your company will loose) is your relationships, also known as your network. Due to this, your network will be and is one of your most powerful tools. Let’s look at two extremes as an example of how networking plays a role in everyone’s career:
Time and time again strong networkers are spared during layoffs, not because they are top performers, but because they have something many top performers don’t have. Take this example:
An executive in the midst of an economic downturn was faced with a problem: he had to lay off one of two people: The first was an incredible performer with a knack for completing projects on time and without errors. The second was a good performer with a network of relationships that was bringing in over $1 million dollars of work into the company. Who was laid-off? Time and time again we see that most executives will protect the welfare of the company by keeping a good performer that can bring work in the door over an incredible performer that isn’t bringing in work.
Think about it, who would you lay-off?
Your network not only protects you, it also reminds management who they want to keep around. Because of this top networkers are also regularly the first promoted. Take my story:
I have been in the construction industry for less than a decade. I am honored to work with great friends (that’s right, most everyone in my network I consider a true friend) that I am blessed to be able to help. Because I help them to be successful my friends take my calls and regularly work to help me in return. As a result, my network of friends have helped me win hundreds of large projects for my company (Thank you very much!) and opportunities have opened that resulted in several major lateral moves during my career.
If you want to advance your career, do everything in your power to bring work, solutions, and answers into your company. The most effective way to do this is through Networking: Continually helping others and building a close group of friends to whom you purposefully focus your help. I know that my company would survive without me, but I have the satisfaction that I am doing everything in my power to make our company succeed. When you try to live your life to help others and your company, you are learning how to build a successful life!”