Some months ago, I wrote a blog post (on my pharmaceutical consulting blog) on the importance of professional networking, especially as a "safety net" during times of corporate uncertainty.
There was always this vague discomfort that I was only telling part of the networking story, however. Because, while I view my network as a professional safety net, that was never actually the primary purpose. My strategy around using blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other tools has to do with creating opportunity. It's an Opportunity Net(work).
In fact, my entire consulting business model is the use of a growing network to bring together clients and providers. But furthermore, outside of pharma, I've been growing a network in the marketing/branding/social media field that now spans many industries, regions, and roles. These are all individuals, for whom I may be able to add value and open doors, and who may open doors for me. The shared sympathy that we've developed (primarily) via social media tools creates a giant, growing opportunity network.
What is coming of these bottom-up, individually-cultivated networks? New jobs for the displaced. New business for talented folks who can help each others' clients. The development of more efficient, virtual business models that will aggregate talent without regard for borders. More rapid integration into a community when someone moves. Exposure to new resources, tools, and approaches. Even something as simple as helpful advice when visiting a new area for vacation.
I wish I could travel more often. If I were flying to San Diego next week, I'd be sure to pal around with Becky Carroll. If I were to take a vacation in Hawaii with my wife, the first person I'd contact for advice would be Rosa Say. I've already had very fruitful contact with "Director" Tom Clifford, who freely and generously gave advice about film-making work to my interested son. And others have approached me for input and advice. Valued people, all "met" on-line, all part of a growing opportunity network.
Yes, the old corporate safety net is gone. But the new safety network, and the new opportunity network, is here for all of us to weave ourselves into. My faith has grown the longer I've participated, that "If we build it, (opportunity) will come."
What are some ways that your are building - and experiencing - the new Opportunity Network?
Steve Woodruff is the world's only Clarity Therapist. He connects people with their purpose, their message, and with other people in order to create new business opportunities. He writes at the SteveWoodruff.com.
Steve is an unusual hybrid of conceptualizer, strategist, marketer, analyst, wordsmith, semi-techie, and all-around decent fellow, except when there's bad coffee or lousy wine.