AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Networking, rollodex and having fun

A former colleague of mine once said to me that he wouldn't be afraid to leave our company, or any company for that matter. He said that he would find a new job 3 days after he would leave any company. The reason? He is a great networker. His address book is full with names and he is able to stay in touch with many, many of the contacts that he has.

He is invaluable for any company. Nowadays, it is frequently more important to know a lot of people that will assist you in a new company and, by linkage, also the company, than technical knowhow (okay, technical knowhow is also important).

But since competition heats up globally, and markets are oversaturated with products, it is often the networker that is able to roll a ball into the field. The networker knows, where the new work is coming from, before it is publicly known knowledge. He or she has already had a conversation with decision-makers before other even heard about upcoming business. This has nothing to do with corruption or collusion, but simply knowing people in the market.

I am preparing a speech for a conference about customer segmentation and one piece of research that I found said that word-of-mouth is way more important than advertising in the purchase decision for a product or a service. The same with projects, or finding a new job or whatever. If you know someone who knows someone who knows someone, it is easier to get through.

Think for example, about the following - you call someone but you don't know this person - why should he or she want to talk to you? But if there was a recommendation before that, well, I would pick up the phone in a much more appreciating manner than otherwise.

Networking crosses geographic boundaries, gender, positions, age, opinions and ethnic groups. Via e-mail, blogging, IM or your own webpage, it is easier to "meet" with people across the world. Even services such as Friendster can help here.

It is boring to stick to ones own gender. Especially, if you are a guy. Women are much better equipped to cope with the changing environment that we are facing in the businessworld. They are better at improvising, networking, listening, they are more creative, more sensitive, can relate better and so on and so on. Many countries have realised that and recent headlines in Malaysian newspapers that the government wants to develop the female workforce recognises this development.

It is important to network across positions. Gosh, it is awful to only stick to those positions that one sees as equal. What about those that start their career? They are fresh in their mind, not corrupted by the corporate life. They are way closer to the "real world". And just because they are called "executives" - may be with a junior in front - and ones own job title is already "manager" or even with a "senior" in front, doesn't mean that the more senior one is the smarter one.

Network across age groups - okay, I indicated it already when I just wrote about networking across positions. Mostly, "juniors" are younger. But I have to say it again. Just because someone is younger doesn't mean they don't know anything. Tom Peters ones wrote "bow before the young". When I see how "youngsters" use technology, and what kind of aspiration they have, wow, I am running to stay in touch, and learn, learn, learn from them. Gosh, I learn from my kid and he is seven (I am exaggerating!). But it goes the other way around as well. Just because one is young, doesn't mean that everybody above 30 or 40 is dead, or not worthwhile spending time with. There is a lot of experience, and may I dare saying, wisdom? Tap this wisdom - okay, many might have given up on personal development or are plain lost in the changes, but I am not talking about those! One of my friends is still amazed how I knew about the questions that would come up in a job interview, and what she should prepare for. But this is only known to those who have been around for a while. - so I am talking about me.

The last one - search out people who are different from you - different in opinion, looks, or ethic groups. because if you always hang out with the same people, you become like them, you are like them, and everything becomes stale. There is no learning anymore.

Malaysians have the greatest chance of all. Here we find different ethnic groups, different religions and all that, and it could be so great to see this grow.

So here we go - here is the field to work on for networking. The greatest challenge? To keep in touch. But don't neglect it. Not ever!! Be diligent about it. Schedule it. Call friends, know your friends, stay in touch with them.

Mei, the one writing the blog called The Scarfer ( had this great idea to get the Malaysian bloggers together - here is the link to her posting : It would be great to meet a lot of you there!

And this is the fun part of networking. You meet new people, hear new opinions, enhance your knowledge and simply have fun. And that is what life is all about.


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