To create an actionable and powerful personal network, it needs to be scaled up in a big way. And that takes work. Networking is plain hard work. You first have to build the network, create the connections; then organize them; then feed, cultivate, care, and nurture that network by consistent, committed follow up. The word for building relationships is NetWORK, not NetEating or NetRelaxing. As Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, once told me: “Some things in life you cannot get around, you have to go straight through.” Hard work in building and maintaining a robust and effective network is one of those times. My book describes how to work smartly in order to create a Billion dollar network..one connection at a time, one day at a time.
Several months ago, I attended a terrific 2-day event hosted by Mitt Romney in Park City. My wife and I did the first step in any Networking endeavor…we showed up. During the course of the sessions, Mitt had a wonderful young lady sing, 12-year-old Lexi Walker. Her rendition of Frozen was spectacular, and when I checked her out on YouTube, I learned she had 42 Million YouTube hits at the time. Now most people would have been satisfied to simply enjoy the music that night, but I made it a point to go and meet Lexi’s Mother, Lisa, and her music director, Kendra Lowe. By asking a few questions (curiosity is a big part of networking), I learned that Kendra had actually gone to high school with my daughters. This knowledge led to a discussion of my new book, Up Your Game – 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top. We then requested that Lexi perform at the launch of my hardcover. She consented and she BLEW THE AUDIENCE AWAY. The evening was a wonderful success, but it all started with connecting with people and expanding one’s Network.
People can flourish or flounder in their career aspirations based on how they connect, nurture, and expand their professional networks. A great man once said, “the granting of one favor often leads to obtaining another.” – Lorenzo Snow.
As I reflect on my career in business and most recently in my roles as CEO of Fusion-io and HireVue, I recognize that my relationships and personal connections have been the fuel that has driven part of the engine of those companies and it frequently started with some assistance I provided to another and my willingness to go out of my way to help others. As said by Louis Gerstner, former IBM CEO, “Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding.”
I am not a computer scientist by training. And yet, my career has been linked to technology. I am not the smartest guy in the room, yet I, as an average lawyer having grown up in one of the smallest towns imaginable, came to run a company voted the “Most Innovative in the World.” The secret? Business is personal.
As I connect the dots from year to year, from opportunity to opportunity, it becomes obvious that the opportunities I have been given are attributable to relationships that have been grown or established through simple interactions via technology. The fuel has been my love of people; technology has simply been the means to communicate with them.