The Joy of Networking

I was at breakfast with three friends Thursday morning. It was early at one of those funky little breakfast & lunch joints south of downtown Calgary. I knew everybody, but everybody hadn’t met each other yet, which is why I’d invited them all. Within two minutes of everybody arriving we’d got each other laughing and talking and chatting and catching up. We traded intelligence on work in our respective fields, checked on potential client reputations, and bounced business ideas and opportunities.

I came away from breakfast feeling energized, motivated, and happy. Happy that I was privileged to the part of a small circle of smart, funny, and inspiring people.

Then I said to myself – “Self: You shouldn’t be you’ve just been networking. Networking is supposed to be an onerous chore! Get your head on straight!” Then I told myself to take a flying leap and proceeded to have a great day instead.

Here’s the question that “networking” is trying to answer: If I lost my job (major contract / largest income stream) tomorrow, to whom could I reach out to find my next gig? Who else would I want to work with again? Who knows everybody in the business and could point me in the right direction?

This is networking: keeping in touch with people who can help you, or more importantly, whom you can help. Why not be the one that people reach out to when needed? Wouldn’t that make it easier if and when you need something?

You don’t want the only reason you’re talking to Fred or Flora for the first time in two years is because you just got laid off. That’s awkward. And much less likely to be successful.

Question for the Comments
Who’s the first person you would reach out to if you needed to start looking for work tomorrow? When was the last time you talked to or emailed them?

Other Article You May Be Interested In:
Getting the Job You Want By Talking To the Right People
Your Personal Board of Directors
The Elevator Speech

Bernie works as a leadership and strategic business coach, consultant, and facilitator. He believes there are simple things outstanding leaders do well. He believes that not doing anything about bad leadership, once you know about it, is abuse and poor business practice. He believes the foundation of any organization is its values. He believes that that the workplace can be a place for both people and businesses to thrive. Not just survive.

Check out his other articles at


Why You Should Hire a 23-Year-Old to Run Your Social Media

The Design4Change folks I’ve had the privilege of working with this summer got a bee up their nose last week, and rightly so. Being a bunch of hard-work, smart, passionate twenty-somethings they took umbrage at reading an article that argued new graduates were not to be trusted with your company’s band.

They disagreed, and eloquently make their case here: Why You Should Hire a 23-Year-Old to Run Your Social Media.

I can only repeat what they already said: It comes down to hiring the right people.

If you have the right strategy – you’ve put the time and effort into thinking about and planning where you want to take your company and how to get there, and you have the right leadership – you spend the time and effort making sure the right people are doing the right things to get you there – then the age of the person doing the job doesn’t matter.

If you don’t take the time and effort to set strategy and provide leadership you might be very busy doing the wrong things. Then it doesn’t matter who you hire for any position because they’ll be doing the wrong things. Hiring on the basis of age (or ethnicity, or religion, or political belief, or gender, or sexual orientation, etc.), for me, is stupid and another example of lazy thinking.

Question for the Comments:
Who’s the youngest, sharpest person you have working for you? What are you doing to make sure they have what they need to do their best everyday at work, and keep learning and growing?

Other Articles You May Be Interested In:
Who Are Your Best Employees?
How To Empower Your Employees

Bernie works as a leadership and business coach, consultant, and facilitator. He believes there are simple things outstanding leaders do well, and that not to do anything about bad leadership once you know about it is abuse. Check out what he does with

How Are You Fantastically Different? Voodoo Doughnuts!

Strategy in business comes down to two questions:

1) How do I make money?

2) How do I beat the competition?

A variation of the second question is “How do I get noticed in a crowded market place?” Voodoo Doughnuts has figured it out.

What makes you fantastically different from your compititors?

Why Marketing is Useless, and How You Can Fix It

Another interesting article from HBR on how marketing is broken, and how to fix it in your company.

The (over)-simplification: start listening

This is Broken

It’s an old video, but a relevant topic. So relevant my wife and I watched it in bed this morning.

Yes, that’s wrong too somehow.

Seth Godin – This Is Broken

The Superstar Corollary

“Being the best in a field makes you disproportionately impressive to the outside world. This effect holds even if the field is not crowded, competitive, or well-known. [This does] not require a rare and natural talent or years and years of grinding work.”

The Superstar Corollary