Five Powerful Insights on the Importance of Leveraging Networks
A crucial part of personal leadership development is the realization that developing and curating reliable long-term professional relations is crucial to one’s success. The ability to establish, nurture, and sustain professional relationships with other people, and hence build a usable network, is often what differentiates successful leaders from stagnant ones.
Here are five powerful quotes that shed light on the importance of networks:
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”
This blunt remark points to an often-missed harsh reality: merit alone does not get you to the top.
People often resort to theorizing office politics, and talk about how lobbying prevented them from gaining access to valuable information and opportunities in the market. The fact of the matter is that the competitive speed of the market prevents people from finding out who has the greatest merit and the capability to complete a job. This requires consistent communication with the people; consistent and relevant communication establishes relationships and, with time, builds networks.
When people don’t invest time in building networks, they stagnate and find themselves looking for work.
“Sponsors and networks will really go all out and simply evaluate people on the basis of talent.”
This is an apt corollary. It takes a lifetime for people to build and develop reliable networks. Instead of starting from scratch, leaders must look for people who already have strong networks and gradually build relationships with them. These people are always on the lookout for better talent, and if you can establish a relationship, it becomes easier to leverage their networks.
“Municipal networks expand economic opportunities. We’ve got to open new doors, not slam them shut.”
The purpose of a professional network is to open newer opportunities for your organization, and to enable you to leverage them before your competition does. At times, this also requires moving into newer networks, which leaders must do strategically without personal bias.
“The networks have a particular agenda, a particular model and structure. It doesn’t have anything to do with content. This is not a dis on them – they are a business model, run by business people.”
This highlights the importance of background research on the people you are networking with. Oftentimes the network itself induces pressure and structures the decisions of the people forming the network, and creates certain biases and bearings towards various business opportunities.
Networks are not always lobbies with a certain agenda. At times, the mindset of the majority simply creates an atmosphere that makes them unreliable for certain circumstances.
“Networks, especially, micro-manage everything to death.”
The network should be a platform for building your authority, trading favors, and leveraging talents and opportunities. However, networks can induce great pressure on their members to establish and maintain a certain network image (like a brand’s image). It becomes important that leaders maintain a certain individual distance from the network and thus prevent the network from defining who they are.
Do you have any favorite quotes that gave you insights on networks? Share them in the comments.