Real networking winners don’t compete… they collaborate!
Those people who may be in your same business as you are are not your enemy. Some of them are so protective of all they know about what they do that it hinders them from making the connections that might just help them get to where they want to go. They believe that one wins and the other loses.
I prefer to believe that both can be winners. There is plenty of business to go around. It takes a bold step forward. I no longer fear the competition, I embrace it. Some say that competition brings out your greatest potential. However, when it comes to business, I no longer believe that. In sports, perhaps. The gift of collaboration yields more than the gift of competition. For it to work collaboration must be reciprocal.
Compare someone who is protective of their turf and someone who believes that there is no competition and you will find that there indeed is but one winner in that comparison. It’s not the one who protects their turf and is afraid to collaborate with others.
The real winners in the real world are those who join forces to meet the challenges of everyday business together. They find ways to work together – to combine their forces – to help each other. They make friends of the so-called competition and learn to pool their creative resources – to help each other. It’s about building up rather than tearing down. You must learn to trust the process and respect the synergy that flows from collaboration. They realize that becoming a better professional networker begins with adjusting their priorities. It’s no longer about “me, me, me,” it collectively about us and how we can best work together.
In essence the two – working together – become a team. And together they share new ideas on effective teamwork, and experience a quick surge of creativity, or burst of innovation! How can that not help each other grow?
It’s true that there are company secrets that one must guard, I’m not talking about that. Guarding company secrets is one thing but for managers or companies to forbid fraternization with the so-called enemy is stupid. It is ineffective to subscribe to the total gridlock that has brought many people and companies to a grinding halt.
Study to learn the collaborative etiquette of networking. You have the ability to discover and develop new relationships and to learn the skills of working together – so do it. What is the collaborative etiquette of networking?
1. The act of working together; united labor.
2. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
1. The practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.
2. The customs or rules governing behavior regarded as correct or acceptable in social or official life
So, collaborative etiquette is: The act of working together within the practice of mutually beneficial social convention. Put another way, it is networking in a way that subscribes to the idea that networking is about using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals… expecting nothing in return. Collaborative etiquette is the lubrication that makes things run smoothly. Without it, you may permanently alienate others.
What if it were not the economy but the mindset within the the person networking and the company? Networking not only requires effective collaboration to succeed, it demands it and those who are willing to bend to the winds of attitude adjustment will benefit from it and those who don’t will be left behind.
For me, I prefer to seek out people in my industry that seem to have a bigger following than me. I review their Facebook and Twitter posts, look at their upcoming events, review their other social networks, determine the best way I can offer service to that person and then reach out to them. Some are willing. Some are not. Be okay with that and don’t take it personally.
One way to ensure your long-term success is to get strategic collaborative partners to help you gain exposure and new prospects. The business and partners will automatically follow. Next… you count your blessings!
There is no competition… only cooperation!
Larry’s Note: A special “thank you” to Robert Green, Chairman of Intergrated Biomolecule Corp., Tucson, AZ for inspiring this article.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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