jump to navigation

Investing For Your Future August 24, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Networking.
Tags: , ,
trackback

It is happening all too frequently these days.  I get a call or an email from a recruiter with the same story: a great person has lost their job and is looking for a new position.  This person is a seasoned IT executive, a great asset, and has a long history of success.  Would I know of any potential openings in the area?  The recruiter is always kind enough to forward to a resume for my review.

Opening the resume, I note that this person has held a number of executive IT positions with local companies over the past several years. Yet I have never heard of them. How can this be?  I work in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.  We are crawling with technology companies and have one of the strongest local executive networks in the country.  Nonetheless, looking at this resume, I am drawing a complete blank.  Even after checking LinkedIn, I have no second- or third-level connections to this person.

In contrast, I also hear from folks who are very well-connected.  They are in a similar tough position, but they have all sorts of resources to fall back on.  They have built relationships that will help them as they seek a new position.  More than anything else, they have great name recognition and a history of having done great work that is known in the community.

Those folks with no networks give me precious little to work with.  As much as I want to, my ability to assist is limited because this person did not invest in the most important aspect of their long-term career: their network. As they moved up the ladder, racking up those successes, they didn’t take the time to become a part of the community.  Now that trouble has arrived, they have no place to turn for help, advice, or a connection to a new job.

Why do people neglect their network?  Time and again I have invited local CIOs to various networking events, only to be told that they “don’t have the time” or “don’t do those kinds of things.”  I simply cannot understand this mentality.

Investing in your network is like investing in an savings account.  You deposit a little at a time, over a long period of time.  You accrue value that, in many cases, you hope you never need to use.  But when you need it, it’s there, and it’s a lifesaver.  Sometimes you draw from your network in little pieces: a question answered or an opinion confirmed.  But occasionally you make a major withdrawal: career changes or economic upheaval.

But the real purpose of a network is not about how it helps you.  The real purpose of a network is that it gives you the ability to help everyone else, all the time, in many ways.  You meet interesting people.  You learn from them.  You get the privilege of helping them.

Let me be blunt: people who fail to build their networks are acting selfishly.  They hurt themselves, certainly, but they also diminish everyone else. By choosing to not give a little to those around them now, they rob our community of their potential contributions.  Networks succeed when everyone pitches in, just a little bit.  All those little bits create a rich community of people sharing, helping, teaching, and learning.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Are you keeping your network active?  Are you an active part of your community?  Make a commitment to contribute to your community by networking.  And may you never need to draw on the goodwill you’ll be creating.

[tweetmeme source=”EffectiveCIO” alias=”http://bit.ly/cio095″ only_single=false]

Advertisements

Comments»

1. courtney benson - August 24, 2009

Excellent post and happy that you brought it up. I think it is something that is not discussed enough today.

2. Heather Hollick - August 24, 2009

Wow! This is very well said:

Let me be blunt: people who fail to build their networks are acting selfishly. They hurt themselves, certainly, but they also diminish everyone else. By choosing to not give a little to those around them now, they rob our community of their potential contributions. Networks succeed when everyone pitches in, just a little bit. All those little bits create a rich community of people sharing, helping, teaching, and learning. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

3. Manish Mohan - August 24, 2009

Actually time availability is an issue initially. Perhaps it is more of our inertia to get started. It does take time and effort to get started but once you get going it takes no additional time and effort. You may initially read a lot of blogs, be on a lot of social networks, attend many networking events. To a person beginning to build a network, it may all be too much. But actually folks with larger networks will have matured into trimming their reading lists and being more selective on networks (social or otherwise). We just need to get over our inertia and make a start.

4. Ernie Huber - August 26, 2009

Three years ago I realized that it was time for me to move on and look for a new opportunity. I had been with the same company for 9 years. The shocking realization I had after I updated my resume was that I had NO network. I had never invested in building and maintaining relationships that I then desperately needed. The majority of my business contacts were within the company I was looking to leave.

Fast forward three years and I have made a commitment to myself to never be in that position again. (only networking when I needed something). I don’t do it as well as some but I do the best I can. Today I am better networked than I have ever been.

If you are not comfortable with the new tools than use the “old fashion” methods of email and telephone. What is most important is that you stay connected and interact with those in your network. The new social networking tools just make it easier.

It does take time but as you said, it is worth the investment on so many levels.

5. David M. - August 26, 2009

It was heartening to read an article focusing so much on the benefits we can provide others through networking. Community truly is at the heart of any networking that we do as professionals. To build our community we need to take part in it.

I agree with you, the power of social media and the opportunities offered by most communities makes it surprising to me when I see more people don’t spend time exploring new ground.

Manish is right: We just need to get over our inertia and make a start.

6. Gautam - August 28, 2009

Hey Chuck:

So, besides their network, hopefully somethign else about their career can stand out – may be some major decisions that though a bit risky at time were sound and solid, and that this was demonstrated over and over, etc. Some people have networked, but done little else.

7. Lynn M - August 31, 2009

Excellent post on networking and hearing it from the hiring point of view should make people take notice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: