A Good Network Involves Separating Givers from The Takers
This post originally appeared on Blue Ink, Johannes Mutzke’s thoughtful Blog. Many thanks to him for allowing me to guest post, and for promoting it.
Did your Mom ever tell you that there are just two kinds of people in the world?
Mine did: “Jeff, there are givers, and there are takers- you are either one, or the other.”
She was probably trying to explain at the time a person that had hurt my feelings- maybe one that didn’t do what they said they would.
She certainly wasn’t talking about networking in the business world, but she could have been. There is something quite powerful in having a great network to rely on, a group of go-to colleagues that have an answer to a problem, an objective opinion to offer, or a “warm introduction” to avoid a cold call. The price of my network admission has become simply that you need to take the time to learn about what makes me tick, and then return a favor once in a while, if asked.
But, lately it seems that I have run into many more takers than givers- it’s almost epidemic. Those that haven’t paid the price of admission don’t let that small detail stop them. Am I theonly one that has had the very first conversation, or email from someone, start with, “Hi, I’m Barry, now- here is what I want you to do for me…”?
Even in today’s digital world of networking, there is a phrase that seems to have some traction: “building a tribe”. If social media is the digital water cooler, then tribe building is the that Monday morning gathering and conversation virtually around it. Social Media Today has even created a “Tribal Map”. There is now a company called Tribaling (http://tribaling.com/) with the mission to “help companies succeed in the new world of tribaling”. What?
If I may I say so politely, “Hogwash”. I’d say something stronger, but this is Johannes’ Blog. It’s really simple. Whether it is the old-fashioned shake-hands-and-howdy, or some shiny penny new tribe-building buzz, it doesn’t change the fact there really are just givers and takers in this world, just like Mom said.
Networking is one of the most powerful tools to move any project or relationship ahead. But, to be successful, you have to give- to be able to get. Slow down, take the time to learn about someone before you ask them to do something for you. I think way too many people in business today have either forgotten, or never learned, this basic principle of any relationship.
How about you, have you found yourself wondering at the expectations of those who have never bothered to even get to know you?
Jeff is a great friend of mine and has the gift of articulating important concepts in a way that “sticks with you.” Based on his engaging personality and depth of experience, he brings credibility and wit to the topics he discusses. He’s someone who practices what he preaches. I’m delighted to have him as a guest on Blue Ink and look forward to hosting him more often.
About Jeff Jacobs: Jeff is the executive director of Quality Certification Alliance (http://www.qcalliance.org/) , the only non-profit, independent certification organization working to provide safe and socially compliant product in the promotional products industry. He is board chairman of Fall for Greenville (http://fallforgreenville.net/) , the largest outdoor festival in Greenville, SC, and the former director of brand merchandise for Michelin, N.A.