We seek to network for obvious reasons. Birds of a feather tend to flock together and by extension it would seem reasonable to expect the combined energy, knowledge and intelligence of a group would reap commensurate reward, beyond that of the individual constituents
Networking however tends to have a saturation point or a point of diminishing returns when we cast our net too wide.
Accumulating thousands of business Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook connections absent of any relationship engagement seems pointless unless the end game is to portray your business identity as something it isn’t; socially popular.
As most of us have figured out, the value of a timeline filled with the content of strangers creates a white noise rendering the interesting voices of those we actually care about, mute.
Once upon a time, actually four or five years ago, I had a vision that it would be cool to build a business on the foundations of service beyond expectation and fuelled by leveraging the skills and energy of like minded affiliates.
Great intentions are a common starting point on the journey from start up to fully-fledged and actualised entity. The path to what seems like a logical and noble enough destination however has proven interesting and curious.
I hadn’t however anticipated how difficult it would be to build a small network via attracting a handful of like-minded affiliates with a vision of leveraged collaboration and consequent economies of scale.
A multitude of potential collaborators have come and exited like session musicians chasing their next exciting gig somehow blinded to the value of building depth rather than width.
Business connections evolve from a thread of similar interest. An absent minded ‘like’ to some online content, eventually evolving into a conversation and appetite for a mutually beneficial collaboration.
The glue however that cements a potential long-term relationship, bonds when a mutual genuine care factor emerges. When the internal dialogue moves from a self serving business strategy to a genuine desire to not only speak kindly of, or endorse or refer, but to actually edify someone else.
There are innumerable awesome people and businesses that we have yet to meet or engage. These are the multitude of potential connections that in some parallel universe we would interact with, engage, endorse and edify, if only our roads would cross.
One serendipitous connection nurtured can have more value than 100 random networking requests
The lesson learned is that it is easy to take for granted the difficulty of not just attracting the right people into our orbit but creating an environment where we move from defending our independence and fear of dependency and embrace the magic of interdependency