Clean up your network

Woody Allen is widely known for having said: “eighty percent of success is just showing up.” Well, eighty percent of networking is just staying in touch. Stay visible to your network and it may make the defining difference between success and failure.

There is nothing that will affect your talent more than the important relationships in your life.

In fact, most people can trace their successes and failures to their most significant relationships.

At TRANSEARCH in Copenhagen however, we have found that the majority of our senior executive candidates and clients are spending a lot of time and energy on the wrong people in their network.

In essence, it is not about having a lot of people in your network, but about having the right people. Moreover, it is significantly more valuable to concentrate your energy on fewer, but stronger and more focused, network connections. Cleaning up your network connections and identifying new connections is therefore a much needed and ongoing process. Having said that, your clean-up focus should not be on the 25 closest networking connections (often family and close friends), but the next up to 125 connections. Why max. 150 connections in total? Because 150 is widely known to being the largest number of people that a person effectively is capable of having a valuable networking relation to[1].

So, the key question you should ask yourself when evaluating your network connections is:

Which of these persons can I use to bring me closer to my goal?

The second question you should ask yourself is: What can I help them with? It is crucial to note that nothing is free. To obtain meaningful and strong networking relations, it is important to offer something back to your networking contact. In fact, you should view networking as a social arbitrage i.e. a constant and open exchange of favours and intelligence – because what you give determines what you get back.

In essence, effective networking involves defining possible contacts, determining the individual networking purpose, developing an action plan and committing the resources necessary to achieve valuable network relations.

In our experience, the bulk of external and internal career opportunities are created or mitigated through the network – not through headhunters or job advertisements etc. So if you want to achieve your professional and personal goals, start by taking a hard look at your current network and networking approach.

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[1] Hansgaard, J. V. (2015): Har du det rigtige netværk.