Networking – for speculative gains or long term investments

Networking – for speculative gains or long term investments

The ability to network and engage meaningfully with diverse stakeholders within and outside the organization is seen as a critical ask of today’s leaders.

This is understandable. More and more businesses rely on network orchestration as their model. All organizations in general are expected to rely on external networks for mutual gain and benefit. Therefore engaging with networks is fast becoming a critical organizational capability.

It is in this context that networking as a competence is being demanded of leaders.

Time to therefore rest some of our antiquated notions of what networking is.

Some of these notions include spending endless evenings wining and dining, hanging out is seemingly pointless networking events, trading favours for short-term gains, courting influencers or even being on someone’s LinkedIn network.

While some of these may yield short-term gains and have speculative benefits, these do not constitute the heart of what I believe are networking behaviours for the future.

This is what my life experiences have taught me about networking:

A genuine interest in others, their well being and growth is a foundational value for networking

Being genuine and authentic in each interaction, in each exchange can help us carve a place of respect for ourselves in the network.

Taking a long term view of our relationships helps transcend momentary judgmental inclinations

Overusing one’s altruistic tendencies can burn us out and even leave us biter because we believe we did a lot

Doing because you care about the person or the subject is what matters

I do not believe that gender has a role to play in one’s inherent networking abilities.

One’s preferences of introversion and extraversion also do not ifluence networking abilities.

However, what we value deeply and dearly does inform our networking style.

So, we should do it in a way that is congruent with who we are.