#review&reflect: Making Connections and Networking for Leaders

by | Jul 22, 2018 | 0 comments

7 min read

A Model for Networking

This is TheSchoolHouse302 monthly #review&reflect, wrapping up our focus on Connecting with Others to Grow Your Network for continued and greater success.

Skills I need…

Our world grows and is enriched when we connect with other people. The question is, how well do you connect with others to grow yourself and your organization?

Review: This month we focused on connecting with others to specifically grow your network. To do so effectively, we introduced our three-part model, PRC, to illustrate simple, easy, and effective ways to connect with other people. The first part of the model simply states: Plan.

Plantake time to think about who the people are before you decide to reach out.

This list of people you identify to reach out to should coincide with your needs and the needs of your organization. Who you want to reach out to and why you need to connect are critical to consider in making the connection meaningful and worthwhile. We view networking and connection as a way to add value for you and your organization. Whether the benefit is information or specific goods and services, the goal is to grow your network intentionally. Recently, at the 2018 Visible Learning Conference, we had the distinct please of meeting several educators who are achieving wonderful things as speakers and writers. Conferences are a great place for connecting, not only to attend great sessions to learn, but also to meet people who can contribute in some way to you and your work. Knowing the who of your next connection is important but knowing the where and when is imperative as well. That brings us to the next step in the model, which is to Reach Out.

Reach Outbe sure to capitalize on your network by reaching out to others.

Reaching out is the next step and requires action. Once you have the list, be sure to contact the individuals. We’ve found that people are incredibly receptive and willing to connect with others. Most leaders intuitively understand the genuine benefit of strong networks. This is very obvious with social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn where you can connect with people from around the world to share ideas and grow. However, don’t just think about people you don’t know, there are a lot of people from your past and individuals with only a degree of separation between you and them who you can reach out to and connect with. The last part of the model is to actually connect.

Connectuse emotional intelligence to truly connect with yourself and other people.

Connection goes beyond just reaching out and making contact, it delves into the social and emotional side of connecting with others on a different level. Networking allows us to meet so many unique people from varied walks of life who can bring a fullness and understanding to ourselves, to others, and to unique situations we face. Growing your network expands your universe, which broadens perspectives and creates opportunities. In this regard, we think of our network as energy. The bigger the network, the more energy it produces.

The model is straightforward, and, most importantly, it includes a specific call-to-action to bridge worlds. It recognizes the importance of making connections to network–the work behind the curtain of goal setting and goal getting.  

Making Connections

Reflect: Each aspect of the model is critical for overall success and maximum effectiveness. While reviewing and considering each, determine which one you need to focus on to grow your network? For example, you may easily meet individuals, create an immediate connection, but fail to grow the relationship in a beneficial way after that. Each part of the model empowers you to connect and grow with others. We heard from Dr. Mark Brainard on the importance of connection for service-based industries. As the president of Delaware Technical Community College, it is imperative that he meets the needs of multiple stakeholders with the ultimate goal of benefiting the entire community and state through an educated and productive workforce. He reminds us that networking provides insight into every facet of the organization. He emphasized the need to connect with people within the organization and not just outside the company.

As a leader, are you aware of the people who you need to connect with to help you and your organization grow?

How do I learn those skills…

What should I read to continually learn and grow if I want to make new connection and grow my network?

Review: In our #readthisseries we featured the work of authors who embody what it means to make the connections necessary to be an effective leader:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Everybody Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John Maxwell

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

You can’t miss our #readthisseries on making connections and networking as the lead learner in your organization. Watch it again here.

Reflect: Do I have a firm grasp on what my organization needs? Do I have clarity around who I want to contact and why? How well do I build relationships? Of the three parts of the model, which one do I need to start today to be more connected? Do I have people in my past who I can reach out to with an intention to reignite a once thriving relationship?

Great leaders understand the power of networking and the immediate impact someone else can have on them. Making time within their day or week to evaluate how someone else can positively impact themselves and their work is a critical first step in acknowledging the power of networking. This month, reflect on how well you build your network. Is this something you actively do? Based on the 3-part model, and using a 5-point scale, 1 being ineffective and 5 being highly effective, rate yourself and your team:


Who should I follow…

What does an expert have to say about networking and connecting with others?

Review: For our #onethingseries, we interviewed Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical and Community College.

Throughout the interview, Dr. Brainard emphasized how leaders must connect with individuals within the organization and learn from every person in every position. He emphasized how leaders are made when no one is watching and the power of emotional intelligence. His thoughts on networking genuinely represent his desire, as President of Del Tech, to provide an incredible education for his students and to ultimately serve the community.

Reflect: Dr. Brainard reminds us of the power of connecting with every person and seeing relationships through a whole new lens, something that benefits everyone.

As a leader, how well do you connect with others and foster positive relationships among those in your organization to create positive results and outcomes?

The definition of leadership is influence, and by making connections, you can expand your influence. By expanding your influence, you can be helpful to more people, and that’s one of the most important characteristics of any great leader–the desire to help others.

That’s our #review&reflect for making connections and networking. Take a look back to take a step forward.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube.

Joe & T.J.


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