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Steve Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings. He said: “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas and connections can be developed by e-mail and Facebook. That’s crazy. Connectivity and creativity come from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions.”
Jobs was a great proponent of the importance of internal networks in organisations. He felt that often valuable information was lost and services duplicated in silos in large businesses.
For this reason he employed two people at a senior level at Apple whose sole function was to promote internal networking between teams in the organisation.
Their ability to connect the dots between the teams was a key success factor.
The Networking Company has launched a product called “Teaming” that aims to promote internal networks in businesses. This is achieved through networking training, personal brand building, facilitated referrals and recommendations over six months.
A process of building trust is essential to powerful internal networks as this has often stood in the way of business units passing on business to other units in the same organisation.
Comments such as, “They don’t look after my clients like I do” or “That division messes up the order because of bad administration” are often given as reasons for not cross-selling in organisations.
This issue needs to be addressed using a change management process where credibility, trust and shared values are enhanced.
Personal visibility is an important element of networking.
People need to realise the importance of developing their personal brand, otherwise they risk becoming a no-name brand.
A personal branding or visibility strategy is key to communicating your strengths and value to the organisation.
“It’s not who you know, it’s who knows about you at the end of the day.”
The reason you need to facilitate internal networks is to improve profitability.
Once trust has been established and people’s visibility and personal brand have been enhanced, then the nuts and bolts of referring business to each other begins.
l Helen Nicholson is an author, speaker and networking guru. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.thenetworkingcompany.co.za