Who's Your Butt-Kicker?
When you think of networking, how do you feel and what do you picture?
I see the Olympics. An event which sees people racing around the room to gather and give the most business cards – with the gold medal going to the person who runs out of cards! I feel uncomfortable with this scenario and I continue to experience this twentieth century phenominom!
Fronting up to a networking event is hard enough for some, especially when the ‘card’ is more important than forming the relationship. Many people lack the confidence to attend on their own which makes the whole networking a task to master.
Whilst I’ve been doing some research into networking practices – it’s amazing to see the many varied practices; from hard core referral (think BNI and Business Builders) to the social aspect where it is more about entertainment (think Business Chicks) than 'doing business'.
Author, Janine Garner approaches her network as a prized possession – determining her core four, then her key 12 people and those that can potentially sabotage all your hard work.
These are small numbers – we’re talking four people, or at the most 12 people who you need in your network. It’s the flipside of the likes of LinkedIn and my address book where I have hundreds in my network.
Janine emphasises that we really need to treat our network as a valuable commodity and question ourselves - Who will add real value to our professional and personal development?
This sounds far more palatable than fronting up to an event on your own with a stack of business cards!
Her approach of 'Rework your Network' reminded me of how I declutter my wardrobe on a regular basis … likewise, we are advised to rework our network which involves analysing and auditing who we are leveraging. We need to move from’ how many you know in your network to focusing on ‘who are the right people to know’.
We need to invest time, energy and commitment into strategically building a small but smart network. I read ‘It’s Who You Know’ a few weeks ago, and it's still on my desk and I keep thinking of the ‘The Nexus’ model, which highlights your Core Four - you can check out Janine’s website and complete the Nexus Profile diagnostic.
1. Promoter – makes noise about potential possibility and inspires you to dream big
2. Pit-Crew – keeps you on track, nurtures you and prevents untoward emotions from getting the better of you
3. Teacher – helps you develop knowledge, wisdom and foresight
4. Butt-Kicker – accelerates your journey, pushes you to do more and holds you accountable for your actions
These women are my Core Four. We call ourselves the Champagne Consultants. We meet every quarter and help each other out - tap our butts (ever so lightly), share great wisdom and fabulous ideas.
Like many good self-development books, there are several worksheets which you can access from the author's website (a good marketing strategy to get you connected with the author and services.)
I had a great ‘Ah ha’ moment after completing one of these worksheets – sadly, I have a significant gender imbalance in my network. I need more men! What about you? If you had to write down the first 15 people in your network (think beyond your business network) – is there diversity? And we know when there isn’t diversity, we think silo: men think of men in their network and women aren’t thought of first.
‘Choose, Cultivate and Connect’ is Janine’s mantra – a smart approach to encourage you to be proactive in your choice of who’s in your network – it’s not a numbers game, it’s a game of quality which involves nurturing and investing in allowing these people to support you.
You’ve got to make your network work for you. And I think the first person you need to identify is your Butt-kicker. Whom in your current network performs these following tasks?
o Asks you about your goals and plans and how you are going to get there
o Checks in on your progress regularly
o Expects clear deliverables
o Gives you honest feedback: the good, the bad and the ugly
o Keeps you focused and decisive
o Holds your accountable
o Helps you navigate challenges and find new solutions
o Helps you do more with less
o Says, “you can do it, just get on with it”
DO YOU HAVE A BUTT-KICKER IN YOUR LIFE?
I'm proud of my networking skills and the number of people whom I network with and yet, I can honestly say, I really learnt 'heaps' from 'It's Who You Know'. I don't have a Butt-kicker ... and I'm now deciding who I need to ask to do this for me.
I highly recommend reading it to work on your network. You can purchase a copy down below and I look forward to hearing your feedback on what you think about networking and this concept.