Business owners know that if sales and profits are not growing, then the business is going backwards. The same holds true for your professional networks and relationships, otherwise career, business or industry plans will stall.
It’s pretty obvious, but also one of the most common causes of the best laid plans going off the rails.
Businesses have relationships with clients, customers and suppliers; industry organisations with members, media and policy makers; and employees with direct reports, team members, peers and so on. How these are managed matters.
I find that asking three simple questions each week can help to keep you on track.
Firstly, what have you done to connect with new people in your area of focus this week?
We tend to concentrate on big events like conferences, launches and deadlines and forget that, like compound interest, it is the small things done each week that have massive impact in the long run.
If you want a flow of new ideas and business relationships, you need to be connecting with new people and organisations.
The second question, is what have I done this week to nurture the important relationships and networks that I have right now?
For example, can you share a piece of information of value, introduce someone of interest, extend an invitation to an event?
Thirdly, ask what new collaborations have I entered into this week? For example, a business will acquire a new customer, an industry organisation a new member or an employee a new or expanded role or project.
These new collaborations or ‘wins’ happen less frequently, but they are a measure of progress and growth.
When you put these three questions together and track weekly progress you have a simple system.
Despite all the customer relationship management, platforms and networking tools out there, it really boils down to doing these three simple, but powerful things. Every week.