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Networking is the Future

Professionally Speaking--- The Ontario Division Newsletter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals

By Donna Messer

Times have changed. It's not what you know, but who you know that is important. A recent article in The New York Times describes a new breed of executive, so new they've invented a name for them. Corporate learning Officer or CLO. Their job? To encourage employees to share their knowledge - to network! The growth of information and mega companies make the task difficult. A growing number of corporations like Coca-Cola, Cigna, Hewlett-Packard and Monsanto are hiring CLO's and paying them salaries as high as $300,000 to $700,000. Networking is the way of the future and you have to become plugged in and keep your wires humming!

Your future is guaranteed if you learn to network. These Ten Points are the way to a successful future:

1. Networking as a skill - many large organizations today are impersonal. It is easy to get lost in a crowd. If you know how to network, soon everyone knows you. You become a linchpin for the company. To gain the most from your job opportunities, good networking skills are a must!

2. Networking a hiring point - Employers may ask prospective employees to take exams about networking, or demonstrate through role playing their ability to network.

3. Networking part of training programs - Networking will be recognized as an important business skill. Large and small firms will include networking in their training programs. Some firms already have role playing activities in which the trainee is asked: "What would you do if...?" Networking programs will be similar. "Where would you go to get the following information...?"

4. Networking taught in schools - Not long ago business schools stressed statistics, finance and economics. Now more "soft" courses like stress management, organizational behaviour and relationship building are being taught in class. Networking (another name for relationship building) will become an important part of school curriculum.

5. Networking will be more formalized - As networking becomes a more recognized and appreciated skill, your personal networks ( church, school, hobby) will become more valuable.

6. Networking will be more specialized - Long ago we saw "unclassified ads" soliciting everything from pets to people. Today "classified ads" channel our needs into recognizable sectors. Networking will become more discriminatory and specialized, classifying leads by category. Your networks will become valuable assets and should be listed on your resume.

7. Networking organizations will abound - Networking organizations could be the next set of "yellow pages". By joining specific associations you could have access to a wide variety of information and an invaluable list of personal contacts. Fees for use may apply and "a return on investment" should be done before joining.

8. Networking will keep competitive businesses in business - Strategic alliances and joint ventures will be the networking wave of the future.

9. Networking will determine profitability - It pays to cooperate! Remember when Macy's and Gimbal's broke tradition in Miracle on 34th Street? By cooperating rather than competing, they had the greatest Christmas profits ever!

10. Networking will create balance - Our professional and personal networks will become intertwined. Good networking skills will create a balance between the warm personal contacts and the impersonal aspects of business. Networking will provide a strong link between the personal and professional networks we will need to survive in the next millennium.

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