The Well-Rounded Network
You already know it is important to have the 2 Q’s as you build your personal network: Quality and Quantity. But have you considered the importance of having a well-rounded network?
In our current world, having a strong network is critical to your professional survival. There are plenty of tips and articles on where to find people – whether Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter – and how and when to connect to them. There is even advice on what you need to say to attract and maintain your network.
This week, I want to share my ideas on who should be in your network.
Here are the top 10 people that should be part of your network:
1. The Mentor:
This is the person who has reached the level of success you aspire to achieve. Learn from their success, as well as their missteps. Seek their counsel. Heed their wisdom and experience. Ideally, this relationship delivers you a unique perspective because they have known you through the peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.
2. The Coach:
The coach comes into play at different points in your life. They help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective with no strings attached. They are eager to see you succeed and are someone you can always turn to. Expect some tough love from time to time.
3. The Industry Insider:
This is someone in your chosen field who has expert level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is. It’s a good idea to have more than one industry insider as part of your network.
4. The Trendsetter:
This is someone outside of your chosen industry that always has the latest buzz. It can be on any topic you find interesting. In today’s world this might be someone knowledgeable about technology or social media. The goal in having this person in your network is to look for those connections that spark creativity in your thinking which you can apply to any part of your life.
5. The Connector:
This is a person who has access to people, resources and information. Often, when they come across something related to you, they are sending you an email or picking up the phone. Connectors are great at uncovering unique ways to make connections, finding resources and opportunities most people would not take the time to do on your behalf.
6. The Dreamer:
This is the person in your network you can dream with. No matter how “out there” your latest idea is, this is the person that will help you brainstorm ways to make it happen. Without judgment, they are focused on helping you flush out your dreams in high definition, even if you don’t have a solid plan yet on how to make it happen.
7. The Realist:
On the flip side you still need the person who will help you keep it real. This is the person who will give you the raised eyebrow when your expectations seem out of line with reality. These are not people who knock down your dreams; rather, they challenge you to actively make your dream come true.
8. The Visionary:
Visionary people inspire you by their own journey, even if it isn’t similar to yours. These folks are close to the Idealist, but the visionary can help you envision an actual plan to reach your goal. One personal encounter with this type of person can powerfully change the direction of your thinking and life.
9. The Partner:
You need to have someone who is in a similar place and on a similar path to share with. In fact, partners do a lot of sharing. This is a person you can share the wins and woes with. Partners will also share resources, opportunities and information.
10. The Wanna-be:
This is someone you can serve as a mentor to. They are someone you can help develop and shape based on your own experiences. One of the best ways to understand something is to be able to explain it to someone else. Sometimes one of the best motivators for pushing through obstacles and hardship is being aware that someone else is watching you.
Obviously you will strive to have more than 10 people in your network. The trick is to make sure you are building a diverse network by adding people from different industries, backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups, etc… that fit into the roles listed above. Building a deep network by only including people from your current profession or business focus leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities.
Get serious about building a strong professional network that can provide the leverage you need to make progress at work. Evaluate your current network and get started filling in the gaps.