When I went through the Leadership Ann Arbor program a few years ago, one of the things I got to do was go on a ride-along with an Ann Arbor Police Officer. In this case it was officer Steve Dye. One of the things that he said which really stuck with me was “Impatience will get you in trouble”. That was definitely the theme of the day as we pulled over motorist after motorist who tried to cut corners in order to save a few seconds from their travel time.

The same dictum holds for networking. Anytime we try to cut some corners in order to achieve our goals, we are likely to end up costing ourselves in the long run. If we ask for a high-level referral from a new relationship, we run the risk of destroying that connection. If we expect significant monetary results as soon as we start networking, we’ll end up frustrated and likely give up just before our efforts pay off. If we tell the other person what we want before we ask them how we can help them, we end up looking like a user and we’ll have a lot of work ahead of us to repair our reputation.

Networking takes time. We have to invest our efforts into it for months before it can even begin to pay off. If we recognize that and approach all of our potential relationships with patience to let them develop organically, something strange happens. The process becomes a lot faster and easier.

And we end up needing a lot less patience.

Photo credit: Patti Gray