As we begin a new year, it’s important you begin by having the best resources possible. The greatest resource of all is people. In my last column I wrote about the about the power of you, as an individual. In this column I’ll address the importance of and power in building a community.
Think of it as the equation of “YOU + US = YOUS,” and YOUS is your network, crew, team, business unit, association, peeps or whatever you call your network or gang. It’s not about the name of the group, it’s about the makeup of the people and the positive power they possess — their skillsets, experience, education, resources, passion, purpose and yes, their networks. All these elements combine to create great opportunities for you and your family, organization and future. No one can or should have to go it alone. Those people who understand your purpose and pathway will make you and your organization smarter, stronger and more valuable so you stand out among the competition.
As we all know, people are unique, each with their own power, essence and value that makes them a one-of-a-kind asset. Their unique talents help determine their role and relationship with you. The possibilities are endless as they mentor, coach, advise, teach, manage, train or heal you as you progress on your journey. They may start out as a colleague, customer, competitor or committee member and become a trusted advisor and friend. Seek to understand them, so that regardless of your age, gender, race, position, education or economic level you can also help them on their journey.
The benefits to both parties are endless. There are obvious benefits: gaining valuable career advice, insights into the marketplace, competitive intelligence and introductions and access to “unreachable” individuals and stakeholders, data, and resources. The benefits aren’t limited to your professional life because you’ll build self-confidence, communication skills, a circle of peers and friends and different perspectives that will enrich your life.
If building a network and developing relationships are not your strengths, no worries. There’s plenty of ways to do it but most important is YOU have got to start somewhere. There are many options. Before you speak or meet face-to-face, do a quick online search for the person to learn about their background or connect via social media. Read an article they wrote or were interviewed for or listen to a talk they gave. There’s a zillion ways to connect and learn about people today. Check your trade and association publications. Just start somewhere. Find your common ground and don’t be afraid to share ideas or an article you think they will like, ask for help, point out your six degrees of separation, compliment them and then start connecting with them in a way that you feel most comfortable.
The more people you connect with and learn from the more valuable you are to yourself, your organization, family and others. Money and success are important but there is nothing more satisfying or results in greater happiness than living a meaningful and purposeful life with positive relationships. I am who I am and owe everything I have in my life to the people who have been and are a part of my journey. Who do want on your journey and who can you help on theirs?
About the Expert
Judith M. Guido is the chairwoman and founder of Guido & Associates, a business management consulting firm in the erosion control and green industry. Guido can be reached at 818.800.0135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.