Yesterday I made time to go to a networking function about an hour south of my house. Kind of a pain to take 2 hours of drive time but it was worth it. This one was different than any other that I’ve been to, and I heard a new analogy which I loved.
The event was put on by Corporate Alliance with my buddy Jeff Rust. We only go back a couple of months when one of my network buds introduced us, and we’ve had some conversations since. Jeff has a hot company in the works and has some very cool plans that make my MBA-brain salivate with envy 😉 Basically what they have is a “Hub” where their members can come and use offices as if they owned them… a board room, mingling room, brainstorming room, etc. The staff was awesome, the decorating was hip, … very cool place. But I didn’t really care about that because I’m too far away.
What was appealing to me was their huge emphasis on networking. They have coordinated and orchestrated networking events that are appropriate for the most network-savvy or the shy guy. For example, after a short tour we went into the main meeting room for a catered lunch. We sat wherever we wanted (I was at the BEST table – it was very cool and fun) and had 2 minutes to tell about ourselves – the first minute was personal, the second minute was pitched. This minute thing was managed by a powerpoint presentation that had a timer and a buzzer, so everyone knew when their time was up. It was very cool to hear a full minute on personal stuff as usually its a 10 second thing and then almost 2 minutes of pitching the company. This helped people open up and set us up for “intimate relationships” a la Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone – read it yet???).
My only beef with that setting is that there were 4 other tables and pretty much no contact, intro or anything to any of the other people at those tables. That’s okay though… Ferrazzi makes a point in his book that you don’t go to one of these to meet 100 people, you go to begin an intimate relationship with just 3 or 4. And this setting facilitated that.
Anyway, Jeff was talking about the three little pigs, and how their houses were built with straw, sticks and bricks. He said that in business we can do the same thing where straw = price, sticks = quality/performance/service and bricks = relationships. Maybe I’ve become too much of a network geek lately but this sounded so cool to me… and since I can’t write ANYTHING without drawing it back to JibberJobber or professional career management, here is the straw/stick/brick thing for you, my favorite professional:
Building your career out of your education is like building it out of straw. Maybe an undergrad was the bomb in the 70’s but doesn’t it feel like everyone has one now?
Building your career out of your abilities, capabilities, skills, etc. is like building it out of sticks. The big bad wolf is still going to eat you for lunch!
Building your career with relationships (real relationships – not brown-noser stuff) is the brick house. We all know people that have been successful in life/business because of their relationships – and too many business books talk about how business is just selling *things* to *people*. Globalization can put cheaper better products in the market (well, the “better” thing is still in question, but I’m sure it will improve) but NO OUTSOURCING can take away your relationships!
Simplistic analysis, I know, but it works for me. Have a great weekend!