Grateful for My Professional Network at the New Year!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for my network of colleagues and friends. Of course, this network didn’t come together overnight. It is made up of people I have worked with over the years including managers I’ve worked for, people who were my peers and many people that I had the privilege to manage or mentor. I’ve learned a great deal from this group of people and want to acknowledge how important they are to me and to any measure of success I’ve had.

And, I am constantly adding new people to my network—people I meet when speaking at various organizations, sit next to on planes, meet through my board responsibilities…you get the picture. My network is ever expanding—and your network should be expanding as well.

LinkedIn has taken networking to a new level and it is now so easy to re-connect with people I’ve known through the years but for some reason or another, lost touch with. I use LinkedIn a lot in my work and find it to be an extremely valuable networking tool. Facebook has also had a great impact, primarily with old friends and relatives but more and more, it is becoming a business networking tool as well.

Building and maintaining a professional network is critical to business success but it is amazing to me how many people ignore it or, even more impossible to understand are the people who only think a network matters when they are looking for a new job! It is amazing to me how many times I hear from people out of the blue who ask for my help or access to my network—I am happy to help anyone but it has to be a two way street!

I rely on my professional network for advice, information, and support. No one can know everything so I love that I have a vast network of people with different skill sets and different interests. When I work with clients, I don’t try to pretend that I have all the answers but I think I do know, almost always, whom to contact in my network who does have that answer or that expertise.

And, a point that needs to be made is that a network doesn’t work if it only goes one way. I offer assistance to my network and am always looking for ways that I can help each person in my network succeed and grow.

Recently I was with a group of colleagues and we traced our connections to each other. One person had referred another colleague to a client who then connected another of us to that same client and on and on we went with the string of connections. We all expressed our thanks to the others for including us and being part of such a vibrant network.

I am extremely grateful for my wonderful network and hope you can say the same thing. So I encourage you to take some time as we start a new year to re-connect and to build your network. I promise you will be glad you did!


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