I don’t know why, but many good people get a job with a good company then stop communicating with their network. Worse, they stop building their network.
I say worse because some day, they may need to call on people in their network for one important reason or another, only to find out the relationship they once had is no longer. Unfortunately, the network has not nurtured effectively so that need also goes unfilled.
Author Harvey MacKay shares this advice in his book by the same title: “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” This means having a professional and a personal network is important to everyone. Build it, nurture it, and people will be there for you.
I was with a colleague and good friend last week talking about this very subject. He is the best networker I’ve ever been around. I asked him for insights on communicating with his network.
He said it starts with creating a master list then breaking it down into multiple lists. He has, among others, the following lists:
- Birthday call list
- Monthly call list
- Bi-monthly call list
- Quarterly call list
- Quarterly prospect call list
- Customer-specific call list
I asked him how he has time for this undertaking. He admits it does take time, but he feels it’s definitely worth the time to nurture his relationships. More important than time is the discipline it takes to make it part of his regular communication routine.
By communicating effectively with his network, he builds trust and his personal brand. It also allows him to be out front of issues instead of reacting to them. Clearly, he’s digging his well before he’s thirsty.
Consciously build your professional and personal network, then become disciplined in nurturing the relationships through regular communication.
If you’re an emerging leader who isn’t doing this, start now. Consider it an investment in your future.
If you’re an established leader, blow the dust off your lists. You never know when you may need them.