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3 Reasons IT Leaders Need to Network

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The other day, I called an old friend to catch up. He recently took a new position as CIO for a fast-paced company, and I hadn’t seen him at the usual industry events. When I mentioned it, he lamented, “You know how it is when you’re new. You have to go in early and stay late. I just don’t have time for any external networking.”

I commend my friend’s work ethic. He wants to make sure he makes a good impression and develops strong relationships inside his firm. At the same time, I was struck by the logic he and others sometimes use to keep themselves tied to their desks.

I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of work to do – there always is – but here are a few reasons in favor of spending a few hours a month to find out what’s going on outside the office.

  1. All the solutions do not reside within one business. Other companies are addressing similar challenges and some may have found creative, cost effective solutions not yet explored at your firm.
  2. Career insurance is always a good idea. Over the years I have known many hardworking and competent executives who have been let go through no fault of their own. At any given time, a C-suite reorganization, economically-induced layoffs or restructuring due to a merger may happen. External networks can be crucial to jump-starting a new career search.
  3. Sharpen the saw! We all know the famous metaphor used by Jim Collins, and it’s true. When you back away from work, you can gain a fresh perspective and address your projects with renewed energy.

Networking is a habit like exercise and eating right. It takes a little discipline to do it right – but when we consider the benefits, most of us can’t afford not to network.

Author: Andrew C. Jackson