Are You Cultivating a Leverageable Network?

April 26, 2021

Over the past several months the leaders of The Fedcap Group have been discussing the importance of building, cultivating and ultimately leveraging business relationships.

In a 2013 article in The Huffington Post, Porter Gale, author of the bestselling book, Your Network Is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age wrote, “I believe your social capital, or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, not your financial capital, is the most important asset in your portfolio.” Recently Harvard Business Review (HBR) Management Tip of the Day echoed that same sentiment, suggesting that many times individuals focus so much time on building skills that they fail to build the critical relationships demanded in today’s environment—and don’t realize it until they experience the repercussions. In a 2014 study conducted by HBR, it was discovered that among the 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, those who networked effectively were the most successful, better able to bring business into the firm and ultimately achieve partnership status.

As important as networks are to an individual’s professional growth, they are equally important to business growth. Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other people also in your business. Shared knowledge, opportunities and a raised profile all result from effective networking.

A valuable network helps us understand where our organization fits strategically in the wider business environment and provides opportunities to tap into new business—often sooner than the rest of our competitors. Leveraging a network is how work gets done in the interconnected environment in which we compete. Networking provides you with connections and opens the door to influential people that can be a boon for business and help shape new business.

Effective networks are based on trust. A 2018 article in Entrepreneur stressed that leaders prefer to become intermingled in important transactions with people they trust. Relationships establish and fortify that trust. Networking can help to build your businesses reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable partner. When referred to a potential new business opportunity by a trusted colleague, both you and the potential partner build the relationship on a foundation of trust. The good news is that digital platforms and social media networks make it easier than ever to develop and stay connected to a global network of colleagues.

A professional network is built with intentionality and requires an investment of time to cultivate and sustain. In my experience, it is worth the investment.