I met the most amazing person earlier this week. Jennifer Hale is a true expert in organizational development, leadership development, facilitation, and coaching. Her joy and passion for helping people improve their lives and organizations radiates from her facial expressions, to the words she uses, to how she engages with people individually and as a group. She has the unique ability to leave people in a better place than where they started.
In one of our training conversations this week, she told us about the "best idea ever". I have thought about this idea, done some of it mentally, but never put the pen to paper.
Life is about relationships. We know that networking is critically important (both personally and professionally), but we often don't take the time to prioritize and invest in the relationships we want to build. Now, we have technology like LinkedIn and Facebook to keep engaged with a variety of people who enter our lives, but...
Do you have your Top 20 list?
Have you identified (i.e. written down on paper) the top 20 people who you want to build relationships with? Notice, I did not say get something from (like a job recommendation or a work contract). These are people that you are truly interested in and want to build a relationship that has 1) mutual enjoyment, 2) respect, 3) shared experiences, 4) trust, and 5) reciprocity (signs of a solid relationship from John Maxwell's "Talent is Never Enough").
You will find that your Top 20 will change over time. Some people who were in the Top 20 will fall out, some will be added. Always be open to new relationships.
For some people, getting to 20 is hard...stop reading right now, take 3 minutes and simply write down the Top 10 people that you want to develop deeper relationships with. Was it who you expected? Was it hard to find 10? Who did you have to trade-off to get your top 10? What are you doing today to invest in those relationships? Do you have a plan to build the relationship? Are your actions effective? What could you do different?
One thought that was going through my mind as Jennifer was facilitating this week is that some people seem to treat the number of connections on LinkedIn as a "badge of honor" while others treat individuals with great honor and value. We love to make connections through current technology. They are easy and fast. LinkedIn and Facebook are good tools to connect people, but then we must individually decide if we want to invest time and effort with specific people to build solid relationships. We must take time to have conversations, not simply link to each other in the digital world.
How are you approaching networking and relationship building? Are you investing in building solid relationships or simply created an on-line Rolodex? Who is in your Top 20?
Jennifer, thanks for the spark...