Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Transformational Power of Networking in Today's Business World

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Transformational Power of Networking in Today's Business World

Article excerpt

NETWORKING IS HARDLY A NEW CONCEPT. The practice has been around since the industrial revolution when businesses recognized the need--and the benefit--of collaborating and trusting a wider range of people. Today, people leverage networking to introduce one another to a wide variety of new opportunities, including best practices, clients, contracts, jobs and career advancement.

Networking as we know it today can be formal and informal; it can take place over a short time span or continue for a lifetime. Networking can be viewed by some as purely transactional and by others as transformational. To that point, bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi shares in the recently expanded book Never Eat Alone Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time how he developed a network of relationships that stretched from Washington's corridors of power brokers to Hollywood's A-List celebrities. His successful networking helped Ferrazzi earn a spot on Crain's 40 under 40 and recognition as a global leader by the Davos World Economic Forum.

It also is important to note that people who make networking a top priority and strive to learn more about the "art of networking" run the gamut from the shy introvert to the outgoing extrovert. Even Type A super-achiever personalities-who have experienced the adrenaline rush of meeting a new contact at an industry event, exchanged some critical information throughout the day and landed a new project by the close of business that afternoon--are continually looking for ways to hone their networking skills. As a testament to that demand, networking is the subject for more than 100,000 books, seminars and online conversations. In fact, one of the most widely acclaimed ground-breaking references of all time, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, recently celebrated 80 years in print with over 15 million copies sold.

PERSPECTIVE VARIES BY GENERATION

Networking is viewed differently through the lens of each generation, particularly on two fronts. The first is the process of networking among generations, and the second is the perceived value or impact that networking has on a person's career or other goal. Today's workplace is now home to four different generation groups--veterans, baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials. Each of these age cohorts describes networking in a unique way and shares similarities and differences in the way they approach networking.

The most successful individuals credit networking as part of their "secret formula" to success. It's really no secret if you asked Bob Mathews of Colliers International, AMO, who oversees more than 70 brokers and 275 employees that generate over $3 billion annually in transactions. "Networking is the start of relationship building and requires a genuine desire to learn about the other person and to share your good will. No one achieves great individual success without building a network of trusted friends and colleagues," said Mathews.

According to baby boomer Mildred Thompson, "The path to success is forged by meeting people through other people. The power of networking is so important, and I found that it was key in my path. I was introduced by a good friend to an organization where I found my new career in residential property management. You never know what new doors will be opened for you!"

A thought shared by a Gen X high school teacher was slightly different. "Networking for me was intimidating at first, as I'm not the type of person that will strike up a conversation with a stranger or go to an industry event, especially if I don't know anyone." According to her, networking became less awkward when her principal recommended that teachers throughout the school system create a "shared interest group" on the intranet to share lesson plans and contacts prior to the annual teacher's conference, an event that involved many networking opportunities with fellow teachers and other education professionals. …

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