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!
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.
Back in the days when Margaret Lack and I started The Millennium Group International, LLC, we decided that one of our core values was that we wanted to work with nice people. We selected our consultants for their expertise but also for their attitude and positive approach to work. This made the long days of running a successful business a little easier to take! And, I’ve continued this approach with my current group of close colleagues. Believe me; writing business books with colleagues has the potential of being a bit difficult—especially since both books I’ve written had very short, publisher-imposed deadlines. But, working first with Sharon Armstrong on The Essential HR Handbook and then with Cornelia Gamlem on The Big Book of HR has reinforced my commitment to working with nice, cooperative colleagues. I am very grateful to both these outstanding women for their approach to working together with me.
As you are making your resolutions for 2013, resolve to re-connect with colleagues with whom you’ve lost touch. This can be as easy as looking for them on LinkedIn or another social media forum. Resolve to meet new people and make new connections in 2013. Maintaining and building your network will pay off both personally and professionally.
January 2, 2013
by Barbara Mitchell