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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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