Networking Action Plan
It’s been a long time since I have read a book about networking that moved me. When I read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, "Never Eat Alone" published by Doubleday, I was more than moved...I was inspired.
What really caught my attention was his idea that we all need to develop a Networking Action Plan to serve as a road map to achieve your dreams and goals. Once you know what your mission is (for example, become a leading expert in your industry, increase your market share or reinvent your career) then Ferrazzi's bare-bones plan will help you stay on course to reach your destination.
The best part is that his idea actually works! I know because I tried it out over the past six weeks to help me strategically move back into the healthcare industry.
When I launched my speaking and training company in 1996 I wanted to spread my wings and get experience outside of the healthcare industry where I had worked for more than 14 years. Then, my personal cancer journey I went through over a year ago really made me realize how much I missed healthcare. I also experienced as a patient one of healthcare's real pains: poor patient satisfaction resulting from inadequate caregiver communication. Now, I knew I could help them fix that!
After dedicating almost ten years to improving communication, I knew I could re-enter the healthcare industry to assist with tools that I regularly used with corporate and government teams. However, knowing what I wanted to do was only half the solution. I still wasn't sure how to get back in.
I followed Ferrazzi's advice and put together a very simple spreadsheet that identified in the first section what I wanted to accomplish three years from today. I then worked backwards in both one-year and three-month increments to develop mid- and short-term goals that will help me reach my mission. He suggests you create "A" and "B" goals under each time frame that will help you achieve your three-year goal(s).
In the second part of the worksheet, broken up in similar time increments, you need to list the people you know for each "A" and "B" goal who could help you get one step closer to making your mission a reality.
The third, and final part, of the worksheet is where you identify which connecting strategy (for example, a telephone call, e-mail, face-to-face meeting) will be the most successful in helping you reach out to the people who can help you achieve your goal. Once you complete this worksheet, you will have a clear definition of your mission or goal. You'll have the name(s) of a person who can help you reach the next step, and you will know which connecting approach seems to work best for your personality.
In fewer than 45 days, my network put me in front of a CEO of a major hospital system, an owner of a homehealth care agency, a senior administrator of a community hospital and several other healthcare decision makers. My first proposal went out this week for a significant amount of work that would be spread out over the next year. All of this has happened without a new Web site, brochure or fancy new business cards. Just people I know who believed in my mission, connected me to someone they knew, which took me one step closer to achieving my goal.
Do you know what your mission is? Do you have a process or system in place to build your network? Being an effective connector is not magical or reserved for a few select people who just happened to be wired with a preference for "extroversion." Connecting with others simply involves a plan and carrying it out, whether you want to break into a new industry or change careers.
It does, however, require you to take action and commit your goals in writing. Have the guts and conviction to put it on paper and post it where you will look at it everyday.
Remember...be careful what you wish for because if you follow this advice, it will happen.
Perfecting Connecting® Action Steps:
Download the word document, by clicking here. It's a very simple version of Keith Ferrazzi's Network Action Plan that he outlines in his book. It's a great starting point and it will produce real outcomes if you follow it.
- Make sure your goals are specific, detailed and concrete. Know what steps you need to take, by when and how you will know if you’re successful.
- Create a personal "board of advisors" that will act as a sounding board, cheerleader and the action police. You need a core group of people you trust who can hold you accountable to your goals. My "board of advisors" has been instrumental in making my dream into reality in a very short period of time.