One of the things that most personal development Gurus talk about these days is to treat yourself as a “Brand”. Unless you handle yourself as a brand, which needs to be nurtured, enhanced and marketed, you will be sidelined in the new world of cut throat individualistic competition.
Normal careers within corporations are not going to be there forever. In that case, one is not “shielded”. Even within a corporation one needs to always keep adding value and be on the look out to improve one’s selling proposition. One of the most important of the skills that stands one in good stead is to Network.
One of the tricks of good networking skills is to create a “Personal Board of Directors (PBOD)”. This should be treated as a network where you will help others grow and they will contribute to your growth. Its a mutual relationship and the commitment is both ways. Nurture good, smart, skillful individuals who can push you ahead and also mentor you.
To have a well rounded PBOD, you should make a commitment every year to add three people above your level, three at your level, and three below your level. This roster should be kept on. Once you add people in your network, say “Deepak’s PBOD”; then it should be maintained strongly.
Always remember its not who you know, it’s about who knows you that matters!
How do you go about building your PBOD?
- Find professionals who compliment your weaknesses
You don’t just want people like you around you. You should have people who compliment you and bring about traits that you have a hard time inculcating in you. That way, you can fruitfully partner with them and build a team that is greater than the parts. Moreover, they will be more keen to partner with you as well. Why would some partner with a “me-too” person anyway?
- Do something for them and build obligation
Always do something for others. Help them out, add value to their work and life. And though its a selfish way to look at things, but if you give to others, others do feel obliged to give to you as well. To be a receiver, you need to be first, a giver. The more valuable others feel you are to them, the more inclined they will be to keep you near them.
- Continue building and refining your plan every quarter
Networking is not a static process. Relationships need continuous and regular effort. They require 24/7 commitment and one needs to add more and more people in the network to have a well rounded team in the end.
- Be with people you want to become
Its one thing to observe people from far and fantasize about their life. But, when you come close to them, you know what they have and even more importantly, why they have better. That would help you understand whether you truly want it or not. And, if you do want it, then being with someone who already has it, would show you why or how that person has what you aspire for.
- And, finally, It’s never too late to start
No matter at what stage of life you are, you have never lost the boat. You can start whenever you want.
So, friends, go create a personal plan for networking for the year. In a few months the new year and decade will start, you can create a plan for a “Personal Board of Directors” and pursue it with all seriousness.