Build a powerful network by having the right people around you, not by counting your connections, says Sydney-based networking expert Janine Garner in her new book, It’s Who You Know: How A Network of 12 People Can Fast Track Your Success.
“If you can operate from a place of honesty and vulnerability, and share your dreams, then a core group of people can help you achieve your goals,” says Janine, founder of the LBDGroup, a business networking community for women in Australia. She says we only need 12 critical people to build a powerful network.
Here’s who they are and how to pick them:
Three distinct roles make a powerful network
A board of advisors that will bring out the best in you, challenge your thinking, and teach you how to build knowledge in new areas.
An intelligence bank that understands your skills, and brings people into your network to support your strengths and negate your weaknesses.
A marketing machine of people who will champion your cause, promote you, and open doors for you.
The 12 critical people you need to know
There are four key groups within a network, including promoters, a pit crew, teachers, and butt kickers:
- The cheerleaders create opportunities for you to shine. They push you to do more because they believe in you.
- The explorers find the different paths to reach your ultimate goal. They question why you’re doing something, and how you’re going to get there.
- The inspirers don’t believe in “I can’t.” They’ll make you come away from lunch and think you can take on the world.
The Pit Crew
- The lovers put you and your needs first. Lovers don’t care about your job title, how much money you make, or who you know.
- The connectors will provide you with information and introduce you to people aligned with your goals.
- The balancers understand that success relies on the healthy balance between personal and professional goals.
- The influencers have already achieved what you want to achieve. They’ll talk about how they got to where they are, so you can get to where you want quicker.
- The professors push your knowledge, and your wisdom to think bigger and different. We need these people to ensure we become the master of what we know.
- The architects are methodical and astute. Like an architect in real life, they understand what the vision is for the ultimate dream house, but ensure the solid foundations exist for growth.
The Butt Kickers
- The truth sayers know the only judgement that matters is the one you have of yourself. They will kick your butt over your behaviour and the direction you are taking.
- The accelerators get the job done. They make you commit to your goals and accept no excuses.
- The mentors are crucial to your growth and success. They guide and inspire your choices, and provide wisdom to keep you on track.
Don’t set and forget
The majority of business leaders and entrepreneurs I work with don’t look at their networks strategically the way they do other parts of their business. So, ensure you have the key people around you to help you achieve what you want in the next 12 months.
Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve? Do I have the people around me who are going to help me? Who’s there and who’s missing? Who do I need to go seek out?
Look at who you know first, and then use channels like LinkedIn or face-to-face networking with people you might not know.
Be clear and specific when you email a new contact
If someone sent me an email that said, “Janine, it’s been fabulous to see what you’ve achieved over the last six years, and I’d really like to learn the top three pieces of advice that you would give someone moving from corporate to more of an entrepreneurial role, can we catch up?” I would be much more likely to do that than if someone said, “Can we catch up for coffee?’”
Remember, networking is an ongoing commitment
Networking takes effort. It takes time. It requires a mutual exchange of value, and it requires a commitment on both sides to support each other. Get clear on the help you need and make sure you have the right people around you that can help you get there.
To learn more about It’s Who You Know, click here.