Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 207

Building a network must be like building a home.  We must always focus on the foundation first.     

Leaders who are experts in relationship building understand that to truly cultivate a network, you have to start from the ground (or underground) and build up.

Like a house, if networks are going to stay connected, a solid foundation must be built; it does no good to work on upper levels until you've got something in the ground to hold things in place.

Foundations can really be anything. . . they can be geographic similarities, positional connections, or, something as simple as a love for the same past time (think card games, Comic Cons, authors, YouTube videos, etc.).  They can also be deeply held mantras, for instance, three words like "Learn.  Teach.  Lead."

So, how do you make sure that the relationships you build have foundations that can last a lifetime?  Here are three thoughts:

1.  Be Who You Are, Not Who You Think Others Want You To Be.  When trying to cultivate a network, the importance of being yourself can't be ignored.  Foundations require people to be who they are and say what they mean.  If you are honest about yourself, the foundations you build will be better able to withstand anything that comes their way.  Truthful foundations are necessary for powerful relationships.

2.  Listen Up!  If you want your professional learning networks to have strong foundations, then you need to take as well as you give.  Relationships are never just about you, but about the give and take between all parties.  Do you hear what makes others tick as well as you share what works for you?  If not, you'll never be able to make your network as strong as if it was about "us" as opposed to just "me."

3.  Do Great Things Together.  Networks can form with little to no effort.  But sustaining them, truly getting them to last and grow, requires more than just speaking and listening.  It requires actual "doing."  And, it is more than just doing, but truly doing "great things."  Find the targets and benchmarks that you've identified through your foundation-building, and work together to reach them.

We can all build long-lasting relationships.  But if we don't ground those networks first, we'll never be able to reach the heights we're truly capable of.

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