Five Reasons for Top Performer Success


Top Performers Succeed Because They Have Strong Relationships!

Have you ever met a successful individual who did not have a large network of contacts he or she could draw upon for help, advice, opportunities, financial assistance or an assortment of other needs?

My guess is your answer will be either you know they have a large list or you don’t know; very few will answer: the list is small. Whatever your answer, you can count on this; they have a large list! They know who to call, when they can call, why they can call and how the individual can help.

It’s important for us to study top performers so we can learn how they achieve their success. They have plowed the road for us and left a trail to follow; why not take advantage of what they have learned? Is there a need to learn the lessons for ourselves?

Five Reasons for Top Performer Success

1. Top Performers Know Relationships Start with Connections

Top performers are open to new connections. They have a plan for building their network. They have business and life goals which lead to their networking goals. Top performers know how and where to spend their time to maximize their networking goals and at the same time look for ways in which they can benefit their new connections. They lead with the value they are able to provide to the individual.

2. Top Performers Are Not Collectors; They Are Connectors

I’ve heard the term “networking mongrels” used to describe people who simply collect cards and have no interest in the card owner or developing a relationship. They give networking a bad name because they are only looking for what they can get from their new connection. They are identified quickly for what they are!

Top performers recognize it is not about the connection they can make rather it is the relationship which can develop. Sometimes the new friendships are instantaneous, sometimes they take a long time and sometimes they never happen; it may just take time to develop.

3. Top Performers Do Not Keep Score

Here’s another fact; top performers do not keep score! They don’t have records saying I did this for so-and-so; therefore this individual owes me. It doesn’t work that way. These individuals know what goes around comes around and they are just waiting for their opportunity.

If your desire is to keep score; you will not succeed because you will be so busy keeping score you will fail to act in a timely manner.

4. Top Performers Do Not Covet Their Network

Absolutely top performers protect their network for the sake of their network; however, they do not protect their network for themselves and the belief their network has only so much to give. They know the bounty of their network is limitless as long as they are treating their network with respect and proper care.

Top performers also know if they don’t share their network; their network will dry up. Why does it dry up you might ask? The reason is the network understands the person, who doesn’t share, is about him or herself and not about benefiting the members of the network.

5. Top Performers Recognize They Need Others

Top performers know they do not have all the answers. They recognized the importance and value others contribute. As I started out with this post; top performers know who they can go to for the specific advice and help they need for a given situation. They know their network and their network knows them!

It’s not who you know! It’s not how many you know! It all starts with “Who Knows You!”

How do you rate as a networker? Are you looking for ways you can benefit your network? Are you following in the path of top performers?

Do you need some great resources to help your networking? Check out my Amazon Networking Reading List!

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Your Network – Are You A Collector or a CONNECTOR?


Networking is more than a collection of names and addresses.

Sadly most people feel that they are networking when they simply add someone to their list of contacts or connections. This is not connecting; this is collecting. If that is your intent then your time would be better spent collecting coins, stamps, sports cards, or some other true collectible. There is much more satisfaction to be gained spending your time in this manner!

Today’s Social Media tools allow you the opportunity to easily go beyond the mere process of collecting. If you are not taking advantage of these tools; the only difference between collecting business cards and shoving them into a drawer, a card file, or a Rolodex is your storage media.

True Networkers Understand that Networking Is More then Collecting

True networkers understand and value relationships. They recognize that there are different levels of relationships and that all relationships start out as a simple connection. They also realize that the depth of a relationship develops over time.

True networkers understand that networking is a give and take process and an exchange of value. Networking is not the act of accumulating names in the event that you may need something in the future. True networking means that you are intent upon offering value to your network hopefully in exchange for value being returned; value that may be received now or sometime in the future. The when is not important!

How to Move from Collector to Connector

If you are involved in any Social Media the process of providing value is simple and does not require large amounts of time. Here are examples of easy ways to provide value:

  • Share articles you find interesting;
  • Provide relevant comment on posts made by members of your network;
  • Like posts made by members of your network;
  • Thank people that invite you into their network;
  • Thank your new connections when they accept your invitation to network;
  • Add new people to your network; which indirectly expands the networks of your connections;
  • Share your expertise when members of your network have questions;
  • Congratulate members of your network when they receive promotions or accept a new job;
  • Comment on the status updates of your connections; or
  • Help your connections make new connections.

In my unscientific observations I find that the simple act of being grateful and thanking someone for connecting sets you apart from over 97% and more likely 99% of the networking population!

The truth is that most people feel that simply accepting or making a connection validates their networking but that’s not true. That is just a start to the relationship; if you want to be a successful networker you must be reaching out and adding value to the relationship.

Conclusion

If you want to be an effective networker; don’t get caught up in this idea that by having a large number of connections will somehow make you a great networker. It doesn’t! A great networker is someone that regularly adds value to their network and cares about their connections.

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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Operational Networks Enable You to Make Better Decisions


In this Blog post I discuss the importance of Operational Networks. Although you may have a group of connections you call on when you need more information; we can become far more effective if we take advantage of Social Media tools.

The Operational Network

In my previous Blog post I talked in general about the three types of networks: operational, strategic, and social. In this post I talk specifically about the Operational Network looking at:

  • What is an Operational Network
  • Why you need an Operational Network.
  • Who should be in your Operational Network.
  • How to communicate with your Operational Network.

What is an Operational Network

An Operational also known as a Tactical Network includes the connections required to get the task done. Whether the connections are internal or external is irrelevant. The issue is finding the best solution in the shortest amount of time. It is drawing upon all necessary resources to reach that goal.

This network is not comprised of connections that can predict or hypothesize about the future. The Operational Network is fully involved in task completion with the best solution in the most timely manner.

Why You Need an Operational Network

Working solo has its limitations; Operational Networks can provide the resources that make working solo unnecessary. Whether you acknowledge it or not operational networks are a necessity; not an option.

The primary reason for the operational network is you simply cannot do it on your own. Whether you like to admit it or not you do need help, you need associates you can call upon when you need additional input or even validation of your ideas. You will never be as efficient working on your own as you are when you have people with whom you can collaborate.

Operational Networks Make Decisions More Timely, Efficient, and Complete

Your Operational Network will help you make better and more timely decisions, solve problems more efficiently, and remove issues that stand in the way of your completing a task. Operational networks can bring a skill set that may otherwise be lacking into the solution process. Your Operational Network can also provide that second or even third set of eyes necessary to review a solution and identify possible problems.

Who Should Be in Your Operational Network

Your Operational Network must consist of the internal and external people that are enablers of good decisions made in a timely manner. Your Operational Network may include some or all of the following examples:

  • Supervisors;
  • Peers;
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs);
  • Important Customers;
  • Vendors;
  • Tech Support;
  • Team members;
  • Accounting Department Employees;
  • Sales Team Members;
  • HR Employees;
  • Marketing;
  • Egineering;
  • and so the list goes.

Everyone’s Operational Network will be different and must be comprised of those individuals that can help YOU answer your questions and the questions of your customers and ultimately help YOU achieve your goals.

How to Communicate with Your Operational Network

When you put together your Operational Network your ability to communicate effectively and timely is critical. Without this key component you do not have an Operational Network; it’s simply another list of connections.

In the past communication was done primarily using email and before that it was memos and telephone calls. We used the technologies available; but they were very Because of the inefficiencies of the available communications; we never included everyone we might like because it was simply too time consuming.

Today we have Social Media tools that enable us to collaborate much more easily. We can create private groups using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other tools; that enable us to reach out to our entire group at one time and enables everyone to respond and each response to be see by every member of the group.

In the past we would rely heavily on the SME because of the challenges of communication; these groups eliminate those constraints and allow rapid and comprehensive communiques. It’s a different world and we need to learn how we can put these tools together to make each of us more effective.

Conclusion

Regardless of the size of your organization your ability to coordinate and collaborate with resources will stand out and demonstrate your team skills. Effectively using these tools within businesses and organizations is slowly happening; you have the chance to be a leader and demonstrate how this technology will only make you and your organization more effective.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

When you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Professional and Business Networking: A Definition


Defining Professional or Business Networking

The term networking is bantered about frequently but what does it really mean from a professional or business perspective? Professional and/or business networks:

  1. Contain individuals with, at least, a loose tie through a common business interest.
  2. Can evolve to become closer and even personal relationships; but they start at the business level.
  3. Contain people you know well, acquaintances, and even people that you are getting to know.
  4. Include subject matter experts that can help you solve problems and answer questions.
  5. Have individuals that can provide you with perspective and insight within your industry, your business, or in general.

Professional and business networks are NOT simply about who you can tap when you need a job. They are NOT about being there when you find yourself in need. Sadly there are many people that have this misunderstanding about networks and abuse the relationships. In the process they give networking a bad name and therefore make others reluctant to participate.

Networking is about mutually beneficial relationships that may not even be helpful today; rather sometime in the future. But that is okay; there is no requirement for immediacy!

I once met the CFO for a major sporting goods company. We connected immediately on many levels, but not necessarily on a business level. He left the door open in the event I ever needed something. A few years later; I did and he lived up to his word.

The reality is that you never know when or who within your network will need help or be able to help you; you just need to be ready and have nurtured your network with value.

Three Types of Networks

Did you know that there are three types of networks? Two of these are Professional and the other Social. To be a successful networker you must know the difference and create the type(s) of networks that will help you achieve your networking goals. The three types are:

  • Social Networks;
  • Operational Networks;
  • Strategic Networks.

Social Networks

Everyone is familiar with the concept of a Social Network; in fact, many think that is the only type of network and today’s Social Media does little to dissuade that thinking. Social Networks are truly that they are about your social activities; the things you do for leisure, the activities of the family, etc. There may be a business connection, but that is not the primary connection with Social Networks.

Operational Network

Next is the operational network. This network is professional an/or business connections. These are the connections that help you complete tasks. They are your go to people for answers, suggestions, solutions, examples, research, etc. Many companies have these resources identified internally, but they are typically by specialties.

An operational network is more fluid in that you can pose your question to the group and the group can then collaborate on the solution. Even though there are identified experts in the organization; your operational network may have others that can expand upon the answer or help with applying it to a specific situation.

Strategic Network

A strategic network is comprised of individuals that can help you interpret and apply what is happening in your organization, your industry, your city, state, country, or even the world. They provide a broader perspective as you work to develop your short and long term strategies.

You want your strategic network to have a variety of talents so you can draw on their collective knowledge to develop your strategies.

In your organization you strategic network cannot include just one or two board members or company executives. It cannot include only people from your department. The reason is that this limited input may be missing the big picture or may have their own picture of the future and their picture may not be consistent with what others see or believe. Quality strategy decisions require exceptional input from a variety of sources that enable you to gain proper perspective.

Download our free report The Three Types of Networks.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Learn how Tom can help you and/or your organization develop your Professional Network or Social Media: email Tom for information.

Putting Power into Your Reviews and Testimonials


Negating the Negatives

Negative Internet Reviews

If you are like many businesses today you have experienced the negative review on Google, CitySearch, Yelp, or a plethora of other sites. In the process you have most likely noticed that these reviews hide behind an alias. The reality is that they, the reviewers, are cowards or even worse competitors.

To top it off Google, CitySearch, and the others make it difficult and costly to respond. This may be a good thing, because your immediate response would be a “knee-jerk” reaction and probably end up hurting your more than helping. You must remember that you are in the age of the Internet and the person who wrote the review will NOT be the only one reading your response. In your attempt to respond you may end up hurting future business from the eves droppers.

What Do You Do

One of the best ways to counteract a negative review is to get a good review; but not just any good review. Get one where the individual writing the review is willing to give their name and their city and state. You want credibility behind the review!

Get Credible Reviews

When you have credible reviews and someone points to Google, CitySearch, or whomever and it is a review that hides behind an alias; you can point to your reviews (good, just okay, or even bad) and say that YOUR reviews have quality. You can say that these are people you can talk to and they will answer your questions honestly. These are people that have nothing to hide.

You can, with the writer’s permission, use these reviews in your marketing and sales materials as testimonials of the work that you do and they way your customers/clients/patients feel about you, your business, your products, and your services.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Social Media/Social Networking topics helping businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

What Are Your 2011 Networking Goals?


It Is That Time of Year Again

We may reflect on the goals we set for 2010 and we are going to make our 2011 New Year’s resolutions for many aspects of our life. Another year has passed and it is time to ask not only whether you achieved your networking goals for 2010, but did you even have networking goals in 2010? Or were you like most people and just left the process to fate?

It's Time to Make Your Networking Resolution

I’m afraid that far too many left it to fate and fate did not shine kindly upon their efforts. Networking is a process that requires goals and a strategy. Without these two components your networking has no focus. Without a focus it is difficult to find a reason to network and most end up not networking or they end up connecting simply because they want something.

 

Networking Is More than Seeing Who Can Give You What

I recently wrote another article on networking and one of the responses that I received raised the issue that people only network with their own needs in mind. I think this is true, but not for the reason that others may believe. To me the issue is that we were never trained in the art of networking and therefore do not know what to do or how to network properly.

Networking is a give and take activity and it starts with the give portion. When you network it should be a win-win situation for both parties. If only one person is a winner; that is not networking. If you enter a networking situation with only your interests in mind; you will not be successful engaging the other person or at least not for the long-term.

Your 2011 Goals

For 2011 it is time to try something new: networking with a purpose. Having goals and a purpose as part of your networking allows you to monitor and measure your progress.

  1. What is your purpose for networking?
  2. What do you want to accomplish with your networking efforts?
  3. What is the value that you bring to the relationship?
  4. Who do you want in your network and why?
  5. How are you going to communicate with your network and what is the frequency of those communications?

For more ideas check out our free report to learn more about Networking with a Purpose.

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Tom Staskiewicz is a Social Media/Social Networking Coach helping businesses, organizations, and individuals to establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.