As mentioned in my previous post – I’ve been reading (and getting inspired by) Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never Eat Alone”. Some of the presentation is definitely aimed at the US market (who are much more “forward” than us shy/retiring Brits) – but the principles dealt with in the book are excellent.
There are several areas that Keith deals with that are key elements of building a strong, supportive Personal Network. He explains these well – and puts forward some illustrative personal stories and anecdotes that bring these principles in focus.
There is a thread through the book – and is supported by many other blogs, articles and books that I have been reading – that generosity is an absolutely crucial element of building a Personal Network. Following the Farming analogy from the previous post about Dr. Ivan Misner – you reap what you sow!
Early in Keith’s book “Never Eat Alone” there is a chapter called Don’t Keep Score. I particularly like this extract (reproduced with permission) to illustrate the point:-
“A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need. There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends. The majority of “one percenters”, as I call the ultra-rich and successful whom many of my mentees aspire toward, are one percenters because they understand this dynamic – because, in fact, they themselves used the power of their network of contacts and friends to arrive at their present station.
But to do so, first you have to stop keeping score. You can’t amass a network of connections without introducing such connections to others with equal fervor. The more people you help, the more help you’ll have and the more help you’ve have helping others. It’s like the Internet. The more people who have access, and use it, the more valuable the Internet becomes. I now have a small army of former mentees, succeeding in any number of industries, helping me to mentor the young people that come to me today.
This is not softhearted hokum; it’s an insight that hard-headed business people would do well to take seriously. We live in an interdependent world. Flattened organizations seek out strategic alliances at every turn. A growing pool of free agents are finding the need to work with others to accomplish their goals. More than ever before, zero-sum scenarios where only one party wins often mean, in the long run, that both parties will lose. Win/win has become a necessary reality in a networked world. In a hyper-connected marketplace, cooperation is gaining ground on competition.
The game has changed.”
It’s an excellent (and fundamental point) for Personal Network growth – well expressed by Keith. It sets me a serious challenge as I try to find a way to visualise (and value) Personal Networks … because the inclination is always to keep score! How do you measure the strength of the Personal Network without getting in to the frustratingly anal world of CRM solutions which track every dot and comma of commercial relationships!
I am sure this topic will come up again and again – if your Personal Network grows through your genuine generosity – how can you really know your network without giving some value to your individual “giving”?
I am halfway through Keith’s second book “Who’s Got Your Back” – good read so far … maybe there will be further inspiration on this topic in there. If I like the book, I might even become a student at Keith’s Relationship Masters Academy: http://www.relationshipmastersacademy.com/