As I have progressed in my career and taken on ever-increasing amounts of responsibility, my professional network has changed. I have moved from a net-taker to what should be a net-giver. Put another way, I am being sought out more frequently to help others where once I was the one doing most of the outreach. It is not that I have stopped doing outreach–quite the contrary–it is that I am being consulted more than I am asking for consultation.
During this transition, I have found myself wanting to set some ground-rules for how I will react to these requests for help. I feel a great sense of the debt I owe to my network for all of the assistance they have provided me throughout the years. When I moved to Nashville to attend Lipscomb, I knew almost no one and needed to quickly develop a network of contacts that could help launch my career. Thankfully, I was successful.
So far, I have developed three rules that I am committing to live by when it comes to my network and how I will value it:
- I will value my network by returning all phone calls within one business day.
- I will respect my network’s time by not rescheduling meetings unless absolutely necessary.
- I will honor my network by giving constructive feedback in a prompt and courteous manner.
I am pledging to value my network with my time by making myself available and by providing meaningful feedback to those within it. I will, through each individual interaction, give back bit by bit to honor those that have invested so heavily in me.