Think about how you usually get stuff done. I don’t mean doing the washing or plodding though your to-do list.
I mean the important things, how you will get your next job, find your next exciting holiday destination or make your ideas happen?
I believe that important work gets done because of the people you know. Who you know is 97% of everything.
Consider this. Someone asks you for a favour. How do you decide whether you do it? From my experience there are three key factors;
- What’s in it for you? – for example, will you enjoy it, will it be a good experience, will you learn something new, will it raise your profile, fill empty time, make you feel good?
- How they ask – have they thought about what’s in if for you, have they asked you well, have they overcome any obstacles that might prevent you from doing the favour?
- Do you know, like and trust them? – how well do you know them, are they credible, would you feel good to help them out?
When these three factors are in all place important work gets done. If one or more factor isn’t quite right things stall.
Think about it, someone you know, like and trust asks if you would meet a colleague to give them some advice. They know your time is limited, so they offer that the meeting is near your office at a time that suits you. They know you like coffee in the morning, so they suggest your favourite local coffee shop for breakfast as the meeting place. They are appreciative that you would consider helping them out. They also suggest that the colleague might have skills and experience that could help you with a project you are working on.
You are busy. You are more likely to do the favour because you know, like and trust the person, they asked you well and they spelled out what could be in it for you.
All the factors compound, if someone you didn’t know, or like, or didn’t ask well, or didn’t make it clear what was in it for you you’d be much less inclined to say yes.
So it makes good business sense to get to know your colleagues, because more work will get done.
Networking is a business strategy
Innocent (the people who make smoothies) leapt to fame in 1999 when three friends asked their customers at a music festival whether they should quit their day jobs and make smoothies. Their customers said just do it – so they did. One of Innocent’s strategies was to drive business growth through a culture of innovation. They allocate seating randomly, including management so people get to know and understand different functions. They have communal kitchen space and employees are encouraged to hang out there, have meetings, eat cake and fill up with smoothies. The office design has multiple social spaces that encourage informal meetings; water cooler moments. There is a social atmosphere and all sorts of activities from knitting to karate are encouraged. There is something important about building ideas together, but also an acknowledgment that innovation can be tricky and you have more chance of working through problems and differences if you have eaten cake and drunk tea together sat astride a giant banana. *
At Innocent, it’s not just nice that there is cake, (to be clear, having cake is nice) the core motivation to socialise is driven by the business need for different teams to know, like and trust each other because it impacts on the bottom line.
This applies outside the office too. The more people who you know and know you, the wider the network you have to call on to help you get your work done.
No wonder if you’re feeling that creativity has stalled or slowed down during lockdown because while we can do a LOT with technology, in my opinion nothing beats a face to face chat to help ideas flow.
Learn skills and confidence for networking
At Lucidity we’ve learned that people don’t really like networking, even though it is one of the most important skills for business. People fear arriving at a room of people appearing to be having a wonderful time and feeling like an outsider or getting stuck with the boring person unable to make a polite exit. People are also anxious about not remembering names – so we asked William Wadsworth, memory expert to help us with that one.
So we’ve developed networking training for teams to help get over the fear of going to a networking event and help you make friends and influence people while you are there.
‘Your practical tips on how to gracefully enter (and exit!) conversations at networking events will be very useful!’ Networking training delegate
We train whole teams in networking skills. If you’d like to have a chat about that drop me a line at email@example.com.
*Taken from The Innovation Workout