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Saturday, July 04, 2009

WORKING WITHIN: Networking From A Different Perspective

Working Within with Leanne Hoagland-Smith

What is networking? Where does networking take place? Business professionals have their own definition and favorite geographic locations.

Yet, the power of networking to build loyal customers, centers of influence and strategic partnerships is being greatly diminished because the definition has been somewhat corrupted in the haste to increase sales.

Lillian Bjorseth, author of Breakthrough Networking, provides one of the best definitions that I have read. Networking is “mutually beneficial relationships.” For many business professionals to small business owners to C Level Executives, the focus of networking is very much about external beneficial relationships. Yet, if we believe Lillian’s definition is accurate, then why is business networking restricted to external relationships for so many? This focus, on external relationships, is the source of corruption.

In attempt to bring the focus on networking back to its primary origins, this column, “Working Within” will be on the internal relationships within any business and how by using the same or similar external networking behaviors can dramatically improve business results. As Marcel Proust once wrote, “the true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing the same landscape with new eyes.”

Just imagine for a moment if you could establish mutually beneficial relationships between your internal customers (your employees). How would these “working within” relationships:

Reduce costs?

Improve productivity?

Increase team building?

Create a culture of high performance?

Build a following of loyal external customers?

Unfortunately due to the human condition as well as current business practices, many organizations are a series of unconnected silos (think the word “departments”) where employees operate in isolation and start to believe that everyone else in the organization is uncooperative. There are existing individual beliefs combined with the cultural conditioning from the organization that reinforce chasms between those department procedures and protocols. These communication chasms only further contribute to the multitude of reasons not to build internal relationships. The old expression “people leave managers and not companies” is a reflection of how internal networking is not valued.

With human capital talent being the most expensive asset in all organizations and the most under valued, building mutually beneficial internal relationships makes just good business sense. Now is the time to reconsider networking from an internal perspective. You just may be surprised as to the improvement in your bottom line.

Posted to THE NATIONAL NETWORKER (TNNW). All rights reserved.
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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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