Yesterday I began a post on money and how to make more of it.
Specifically, I talked about the role that having a college degree plays in increasing one’s earnings.
There is a lot of evidence that going to school is a good idea if you want to make more money, and the primary reason for this is that college is where you learn how to learn – and learning a lot (and often) is a critical component to maximizing your earnings.
Today I want to talk a little about the role of networking in making more money. Most people don’t really understand what networking is. For many the term conjures up images of good ol’ boys clubs, glad-handing, politicking and you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours behaviors designed to gain an edge in the workplace. This sort of behavior lacks authenticity and in some cases ethicality. I am here today to tell you that this is not what networking is.
In point of fact networking is exactly the opposite of the above things. Networking is about:
1. Sharing ideas, knowledge and resources with others who have a passion for learning and;
2. It’s about giving to others not with an expectation that they will do something for you, but with the expectation that they will pay it forward and do something for someone else.
If you only do things for others (be it giving your knowledge, time or resources) with the expectation they will “return the favor” you may or may not get something out of it, but you are not networking.
And honestly, you’re better off doing it my way.
Why, you ask?
1. The most valuable asset you have as far as it concerns improving your earnings potential is knowledge. As I talked about in part I, possessing scarce, in demand skills increases the demand for your labor in the marketplace – this in a very literal sense is worth lots of money.
Share freely of ideas and knowledge with other like-mind people, and you will both lift one another to higher places. 1
2. The other reason you should do it my way – giving without the expectation of receiving something in return – is because the most valuable people in any organization are people you can trust. By behaving in a transparent way and earnestly helping people you’ll develop a personal brand of integrity and forthrightness that will pay dividends for you down the road.
People want to work with those who are honest. They bring out the best in others and inspire a sense of wellness in teams that encourages collaboration.
Show me someone who is intellectually curious, hard working, coachable, self-aware, and honest and I will show you a person with a strong personal brand.
Your brand is the most valuable thing you have as far as it concerns your ability to increase earnings. In the same way that people will pay $2,000+ for a laptop if the brand is compelling enough, companies will pay a significant wage premium for a new employee (or to retain an existing one) if he or she has a strong brand.
There are a number of great ways to build your personal brand (doing quality work on the job, advertisements 2, recommendations from customers etc.), but there is nothing that will go quite so far towards improving your brand as will a genuine reputation for helping others and being someone others want to work with.
A senior executive at a big cap company shared some great advice with me when I was just getting started in my career. He said:
“I’ve seen some people not make it at this company who got the business side of things but didn’t get the people side, and I’ve seen some people go very far at this company by getting the people side even if they didn’t get the business side. Understanding both the people side and the business side are important components of being a professional, but I’ll tell you what – if you don’t get anything else get people.”
Be someone who gets the people side. Network – the right way.
…And since I said I’d discuss it, let me close by saying mobility helps too. 3
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