Networking is NOT just about outside connections or finding a new job: A replay

Networking is critical to your career internally and externally.

Two things prompted this replay. First, Tom Peters has a new book out named the Excellence Dividend. I will have more on it in the weeks to come. The second thing was that #SHRM18 is just under two months away, and since this post was prompted by Steve Browne, I thought that this would be a good reminder for people heading to the SHRM conference.
One of the themes from #SHRM17, the HR conference held in New Orleans, was connecting.  Steve Browne, HR leader extraordinaire, talked several times about the need for HR people to expand their sphere of contacts. He told everyone to reach out and meet someone new as they were standing in line in front of you. Steve even talks about this in his new book HR on Purpose.

It is not about being extroverted or introverted

In his book Steve says “HR people are hesitant to reach out and meet others.” Steve goes on to say:

It’s time to change this and start building your network within your field with other HR professionals- and others- who could end up being great business and/or personal connections.”

He then advises:

“Just so this isn’t overwhelming, make a commitment to connect with one or two new people in HR. Send them a LinkedIn request with a personalized invitation. Be active on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and connect with other HR folks. Share HR blogs you read with others. Go to events and find new people you don’t know, and take the time to intentionally meet them.”

This method has worked for Steve. As a result of following his own advice he has become one of the most recognized professionals in HR. Elected to the SHRM Board and easily one of the most sought after speakers, Steve is a true example of the power of networking.

More than external connections

Steve is not just about external connections, however. He also follows the advice of Tom Peters. I am not sure if he follows Peters or not, but his actions align quite well with Peters. In his book The Little BIG Things Peters talks about the importance of networking internally in your company, advice given to all levels, all functions. Peters says that many companies are dysfunctional because of poor communication. He says the solution for this is Do lunch! He says:

I don’t care what your “priorities” are. …I demand that you devote a minimum of… five lunches per month… to dining with folks in other functions…Tell them the truth when you proffer the invitations: You’re tired of all the botched communication and lost opportunities – and you are determined for both your sakes to develop a …BIG-ACTIVIST-Intimate Network Across the Organization.

Later he says to do that now. He ends the section with ”Invite someone interesting/potentially useful to lunch…tomorrow. If it’s before noon, how about lunch…TODAY.”
If you need help on how to go about meeting people internally and externally pick up a book on networking. One I recommend is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
I promise you, and I am sure Steve would too, it will make your life and your job more successful and interesting.
I will help you out. If you find me on LinkedIn, mention this post in a connection request, and I will connect to you.

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