Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Networking Collaborative

Filed under: Networking Article — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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Networking groups are growth machines. The good ones assist in your business and your personal growth. In networking groups people of all skills and occupations come together to share information and to help each other.

There you will most likely find your mentors. A network of “go-to” people you can support you with what you need and are capable of serving as an informal group and as personal mentors.

Networking is not just about getting “leads,” it’s also about helping others. There are many learning opportunities if you are paying attention. The more you collaborate, the faster you will develop a trusting, long-term relationship. The rewards are obvious and many, and the risk is virtually non-existent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by developing a collaborative mentor.

A networking mentor is someone with more business experience than you who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time, often free of charge. Why do they do this? First and foremost as a way of giving back to their community and to society at large. It’s a two-way street. You learn from them and they learn from you. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer and who takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.

Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together with common goals – for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature – by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus with one another.

The collaborative method of interacting in groups is said to allow for full immersion into the process thereby helping all who are willing to share. Networking groups whose members really get that are the ones worthy of your attendance. They are designed to promote collaborative thinking that enhances your business and personal growth as well as encouraging collaboration with each other regarding business referrals.

You can collaborate in groups to solve business related problems. It can be interesting and fun. When it is, there is a connection and the sense of a shared goals. Collaborative group thinking often occurs only when you request it. Be a request for the assistant that you need. Being shy about asking can only limit your potential.

When you begin generating ideas and in trying to select the right ideas that work, you don’t need consensus, you need diversity of thought. This will allow your thinking to expand and will give you more than one idea to put into practice.

You can collaborate about job searches. According to BH Careers International, 80 percent of all available jobs are not formally posted. Landing a position is more easily accomplished through word of mouth networking. Tell people what you are looking for.

Networking demands relationship building. It’s a process and it can be a deceptively complex one. It must be strategic and focused and it takes time. Be patient. You cannot rush a close friendship.

No one gets to the top of the mountain alone. Why would we want to when the view is so much better when surrounded by friends? – Kristen Marie Schuerlein

When you share information intended to help someone else, you transcend all differences. Your own greatness expands with the collective power of the group.

Yes, it’s true. There are those to choose to keep their strategies close to the vest. Having said that, I watch for people like that and avoid them like the plague. It has been my experience that the more successful you are the more inclined to share what others need to know and ask you for.

It is important to mingle with people who are committed to understanding each others business goals, target markets and value statements in order to assist in marketing each others business through quality business referrals and assistance to each other. The synergy of the group is key to its success.

In networking you must have clarity of intention, faith, trust and a team of amazing people in your support group that are committed to sharing some of their secrets to success without reservation.

If there is no collaborative spirit in the group I recommend that you move on to another group. I have discovered that some of the very large networking events are often places where people – who know very little about networking – come to hand out a bunch of business cards and meet as many people as possible. There are so many people there that you cannot possibly have the time to truly develop a relationship, ask questions or offer assistance. Those who attend are so excited about all the people there that they become scattered in their efforts and end up with a ton of business cards on their desk and not much else.

These kind of groups are rampant with people who subscribe to the notion of “what’s in it for me.” In spite of what a networking group might call itself many business networks are little more than loose associations of companies who barely know each other – these are networking’s loose cannons – and have not invested in learning to collaborate with one another.

These kind of opportunistic business networks believe that when they make the first contract that will be time enough to learn to collaborate. Not! I look to see if the group is constantly forging new connections to enhance value for its members.

Networking is not about the quantity of people who attend, it is the quality. To get the most out of your networking experience, you need to build a relationship with people who you want to have contact with.

Opportunity isn’t always obvious. That’s why it is important to seek out and contribute to a networking group where each person gives willingly to the others. There you will find find something very powerful at work and a treasure of close business associates that know that contribution is what networking is all about.

Another supportive BLOG post: Read, “The Joy of Collaboration” by Ian Percy.


Copyright © 2009 – 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! Can’t find my book in your bookstore, order a signed copy from Larry James. Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Joy of Collaboration – Part 1 of 3

Ian Percy, Guest Author

Life is not a game you can play alone.

It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are; whether you are an athlete or a couch potato. Being good looking, amazingly clever and highly educated doesn’t change a thing. You could be of royal descent, and it still wouldn’t matter. No way around it – life is something you do in teams. Life requires collaboration!

Literally nothing happens in this world unless it is powered by two or more people. You can’t be born without at least two other people involved. You can’t even be officially dead without a doctor standing there to say you are. And in-between those two bookends of life is the irrefutable reality that we have not been created to be alone.

Life is not like a game of “Pick-up-Sticks,” where the purpose is to make a move without touching anything else. Every move you make does touch everything and everybody else! You cannot live a life independent of others any more than you can breathe your own air.

Anything worth accomplishing is accomplished by two or more people working collaboratively together in a miraculous, purposeful and passionate way.

Knowing the very meaning and purpose of your life depends on others. Surely we would all admit that standing alone on an island, remarking on our unique qualities and potential is pointless: there is nobody to care.

This means that my life has meaning only in relationship to your life. And your life has meaning only in relationship to mine.

This is why, in virtually every dimension of our lives, we are placed in a group of some sort. These groups of ours involve family, school, play, worship, work – every human activity you can think of. We are part of hundreds of groups and the busier our life, the more groups to which we belong.

ianpercyMembership in a group is not to be trivialized, regardless of how many memberships you have or how incidental the group seems to be to you.

If you’ve been extended membership you are expected to participate in line with the group’s norms. Indeed, if particular individuals do not participate well and violate the laws of the group, we ostracize them by revoking their group membership or simply ignoring them. For more serious and deadly offenses, we punish these people by putting them in solitary confinement!

There is something about being alone that is frightening and unnatural. We are not meant for it. It is our greatest fear.

Where did this need to come together – to group – originate?

Human ‘grouping’ behavior is a fundamental reflex – as basic as our need to breathe and eat. Personally, I believe God designed it that way because he saw something potentially majestic and wise in it.

But let’s be clear about one thing – there is a huge difference between a group and a team!

We humans are given the incredible opportunity, and at times responsibility, to turn groups into teams. Unfortunately, we have not learned to do this very well and have let ego, selfishness, greed and a whole host of other contaminants get in the way of experiencing the miracle of teamwork. Consequently, we often limit ourselves to being a group and fail to cross over to the joy of being a team.

This book (The 11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team: Collaborating With Purpose and Passion) will show you how to make this wonderful leap, releasing passion and purpose in a most amazing way.

A group is a collection of people who have a convenience or even an advantage in doing something together in order to achieve an outcome they all want.

In a group you do not need to feel some deep level of connection with the other participants because the real purpose is to use the group to get something you, as an individual, want. It is not a very gracious observation, but the truth is the group is there to serve you. When it stops serving you, you leave it.

Even a family can be a group rather than a team. If there is no love between the family members and they live together just for the convenience and economy of doing so, we would hardly call them a team.

Here is another example. Maybe you attend a place of worship regularly. You can go, sit, sing, pray, confess or whatever, and not once feel a special connection with the community of worshippers around you. The most you can say is that you were part of the group that attended the service. It does not have to be that way, but it often is.

At work a number of you are in the “Home Products Sales Division.” Each of you has an individual sales quota to meet. You each scramble to claim any customer who comes by, and are always on guard so that one of the others doesn’t ‘steal’ a customer from you. There is certainly no sense of ‘oneness’ in your Division and, in fact, calling yourselves a division is entirely appropriate. After all, if you are not unified, you must be divided. It seems like even on a good day, the group’s motto is, “Every man for himself!” No collaboration needed here!

If there is no common purpose and passion, collaboration is unnecessary.

Group members tend to be self-focused. Team members tend to be other-focused.

In a group the whole is the sum of its parts. In a team the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So how does one move from being a group to becoming a team?

Note from Larry James: Thought this fit with this article. “Collaboration is about creating a bigger pie for all. People cooperate because they have to. People collaborate because they want to.” – Dan Burrus


IMPORTANT: To read part 2 and part 3 of this article, please go to:

Copyright 2009 – Ian Percy. This article is an excerpt from “The 11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team: Collaborating With Purpose and Passion” by Ian Percy. This incredible book comes as a gift set and includes an audio CD of Ian giving this presentation live – all bound into an embossed sleeve. Contact your local bookstore or go to where you can order it securely online.

Larry’s Review: Incredible! The best I’ve read about creating team. Everyone who networks, collaborates, builds community, etc., should have this book and CD combo. Truly a masterpiece!

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