The Networker and the Hard Worker

Your network lets you lift heavier loads.

Some people just don’t see the point. Maybe they are part of a large organization. Maybe all of their “clients” are internal. Maybe they never have to deal with anyone outside the ivory tower. At any rate they ask, “Why should I bother to network? As long as I work hard, I should have no problems keeping my job”

Maybe. Maybe not.
Most of the time, though, a great network can magnify what we can get done by our own efforts alone. Consider just one scenario:
Suppose you are the HR Director for a medium-sized company. Your IT expert, Bob, Has been working for the business happily for years. Bob knows everything about your IT infrastructure. If something goes wrong, which it rarely does, Bob is the one to make sure things get fixed and fixed quickly. Bob just gave notice. He will be leaving in two weeks. How do you deal with it?
The Hard Worker: Time to get to work. Post the job on the company website and on a few job search sites. Sift through the hundreds of applications that will result. Go through multiple levels of interviewing to winnow down the applicants. Make an offer to the best one. Make an offer to the second-best when your first choice ends up not taking the job. While you are doing all this, try to get Bob to record everything he knows about the infrastructure. By the time you have someone hired, things have started to fail.Oh, and Bob isn’t available to take questions anymore. The other employees are complaining and unable to get their work done. This makes management unhappy. They start trying to “help” by “encouraging” you to hurry. You finally get someone hired. While skilled, it does take time before she truly understands all the systems you rely on. Result: Delay, stress, unhappiness, degraded morale.
But that’s all OK, because you are a hard worker.
The Networker: Well, first of all, since you have developed a relationship with Bob, you’d know before this all came up that his wife is looking for a job — the reason Bob would quit and leave town. With your connections outside the company, you might know of a job for her. Wouldn’t that solidify Bob’s loyalty forever? OK, suppose you can’t help out. You still have your network to call upon to fill Bob’s position. Heck, Bob might even know of a candidate or two. This will lead to a much smaller pool of higher quality potential replacements.That means the selection process goes faster, the system has less of an opportunity to break down, the other employees and management are happier and when it comes time to train the new employee, Bob may still be available to answer questions. Even if there’s a gap in IT coverage, your other connections within the company may yield some temporary support or you may be able to call on your network contacts for recommendations on temporary third-party IT support.
Of course, it’s always good to be a hard worker. If you dedicate at least some of your effort to building a powerful network, though, you might find that the same amount of work goes a lot farther than if you are working alone.

About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at or

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