Adapt to ExperienceGetting a Job, or Building a Network?

The Power of Who You Know

Here is a printable version of this page.

Family Power

Within the family, people usually give freely of their knowledge and their time. Even within reason the use of their possessions. Family partnerships, when they work can be very effective, but if they go wrong they can also be very damaging.

The social structure of families has a significant influence on what family members think they can accomplish and on what they choose to do. Very few people have the courage to reject the values of their family, even if those values are proving to be unhelpful.

The Power of Networks, Weak Linkages

With the advent of the Internet it's possible to build huge online networks of "connections". As someone said, it's more like creating a phone book, than any real connection. Each one is very weak, and has little value. However, a thousand of those, can be very useful, especially if you know exactly what you are looking for.

There are some unwritten rules, about how you use a very big network. First, you NEVER send the same message to everyone. Second, you do you own homework and target your requests. Third, you should use the network but be very careful not to abuse it. Fourth, you need to be active in responding to requests for help yourself.

Build relationships, not a phone book. Encourage others to talk about themselves, and then follow up on what was said. Always keep your promises.

The Power of Networks, Strong Linkages

Most people have never developed a real network and no idea how to network effectively. It's not something we are taught in school, but some families have this skill and pass it on.

There will only be a few people in your network of strong connections. They know you, and you know them, and while you may be Internet connected, that's not the basis of your relationship. The relationship you have will be, family, social, or business. The relationship matters, because you need permission to change the basis of your connection. For instance to do business with a family member, you need to be very clear about what your are doing.

The largest group of people you know well, is likely to be associated with your hobbies and interests. They are not family, and they are not intending to do business with you. If you want to discuss business, you need permission to do so. Surprises are not in order.

In your strong network you'll have the opportunity to build some ideas about what each person does, and what unmet needs they may have. As a trusted person, you will be able to ask questions about that, but you need to be respectful about what you do with that knowledge. Your duty of care to the people who trust you is absolute.

There is opportunity here to help build teams or establish new key relationships. Everyone is interested in finding ways to work better together.

How is your own expertise and knowledge useful to these people? Do you offer that service as a family member, or as a social friend, or are you creating a business relationship?

Business Networks

A company is a system that people join in order to accomplish the purposes of the company. The company acts like a glue that allows people to work collaboratively.

It should be possible to build business networks that have that sort of stickability.

Can you find a way to collaborate with others

In modern online networks, many connections are accepted on trust. That trust is usually reciprocated. There will be bad connections but few. There is high redundancy in these weak connections. The people who become important are the ones who respond.

In contrast, business partners are strong connections. Strong connections are build like the old fashioned phone switch, gold plated, 99.9999% reliable. Nobody can have many relationships like that.

You have a social duty to the people in your network. Membership carries both privileges and obligations. To maintain your membership there are certain rituals to perform, like paying your dues, and making the commitment to following the rules, only some of which are written. Paying the cost of membership is a signal of your competence, and identifies you as an authentic person. Helping others reinforces your status.

The seven "C's" of Collaboration.
Clarity of Purpose.
Connection to other people.
Communication
Congruence of mission.
Creation of value.
Continual learning.
Commitment to the partnership.

Can you develop a collaboration statement which clarifies your shared and agreed vision? Show respect and trust towards other team members. There must be a no surprises policy.


Here is a printable version of this page.