Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve just landed a job with Nokia. You’re off to Espoo, in Finland (where it’s 17 degrees and cloudy, so not much different to South Milford.) What’s the first thing your new boss does when you get to Espoo? He sets up a series of meetings for you with all the key people in the company that you need to meet, regardless of location. He wants you to start and build your own network within the company – it’s part of the culture of the company, and it’s exactly what his boss encouraged him to do.
This practice – giving time to new employees to develop contacts and collaboration – was highlighted in the Harvard Business Review. But why do I mention it here when (unless some of you have done remarkably well since the last TAB meeting) most of my members are running companies slightly smaller than Nokia?
Because I think the idea of meeting the right people – the people who can really move your business forward – is important. In fact, it’s more than important, it’s crucial.
Sometimes it’s tempting to say, “Well, I went to a networking meeting and I came away with twenty business cards so it must have been a success.” But we all have hundreds of business cards from people we’re never going to do any business with. Sometimes it might be better to say, “I only met one person – but it was someone who can absolutely help me drive my business forward.”
So this blog is a challenge. Take half an hour – alright, with a glass of red wine if it helps you concentrate – and jot down the people you’d really like to meet. Make a list of those people who could make a serious difference to your business. We’ve all played fantasy dinner party – it’s time for a game of Fantasy Networking Breakfast.
But be realistic. Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne and Alan Sugar are unlikely to be much interested in your business – but there are plenty of people in Yorkshire who might well be. And who it’s perfectly possible to meet, or at least – thanks to social media – appear on their radar.
And then of course, you need a time frame. So this is my challenge to you. Take your half an hour and your glass of red wine and make a list of between six and ten people who could help you move your business to the next level. And over the summer set yourself the goal of meeting at least three of those people. Assuming the latest ash cloud doesn’t cancel it, summer is hereby defined as ending on August 31st – so you’ve three months.
Of course, the sensible thing to do is to post your list as a reply to the blog – because a) that will commit you and b) I have a few readers. And who knows? If your ambition is to meet X then their best mate Y may already be reading the blog.
Or you can be shy and we’ll discuss it at a 1-2-1.
And now to do my list…