For a while now, I have been working on increasing my network and establishing myself a reputation as an entrepreneurial thought leader. Many of you that have followed me on Twitter and read my blogs over the past year or so will see that I have grown and learnt a lot since I first dipped my toe in to the proverbial Social Networking Sea.
I have learnt that consistency and reliability is a key trait. I have learnt that it is important to focus and opine on a small range of subjects rather than tweeting and blogging for the sake of it. I choose to focus on a subject that is close to my heart, Leadership.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that documenting the minutiae of your life is important to some people but not to me. Frankly I’d rather those people directed that stuff to Facebook so that I don’t keep getting their FourSquare “I’m at” tweets and their “I’m having a cheese sandwich for lunch” tweets. Unfortunately, in amongst all that dross is often some real nuggets of useful and meaningful information… otherwise I would quickly un-follow said individuals.
Yesterday, I had a LinkedIn request from one of my “light-touch” contacts asking me to make a quick connection. I looked at the request and thought, “he wants me to bridge a connection to a fairly powerful guy in my network so that he can get an answer to a question by tomorrow… that’s not going to happen.” After all, why would I jeopardise a good relationship for someone that I don’t know particularly well just because he couldn’t plan a little better and give me more time?
Almost immediately after I received the LinkedIn request, I saw a LinkedIn posting from Alina Tugend at SecondAct entitled “Forget Networking. How to be a Connector” that discusses the importance of making connections. A few minutes reflection after reading the posting and I realised that I had forgotten one of the basic rules of leadership engagement…
The request came from a friend in need. OK, the friend in need isn’t a close friend, I don’t see him very often, but nevertheless, he is a friend and he needs help. I put myself in his shoes. He wouldn’t have asked unless it was important to him. Making the connection wasn’t difficult; I just had to position it carefully.
So, I picked up the phone, had a brief chat and hopefully, connection made and problem solved.
I guess I have now learnt a new lesson… Bridging connections can be very powerful. It is certainly very satisfying and supports the basic rule of networking… Give without expectation and you will truly receive in abundance.