Leaving my office the other day, I was feeling really excited about a client I had helped out. They were looking for information and I was able to put together data from various people who solved their issue. I said to myself, “I really have an extraordinary network of people to draw support from.” As soon as I said it, I thought back to Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt’s, A World Gone Social. It was one of those moments where I felt like things had come full circle.
One of the many great items from the book is the OPEN concept; Ordinary Person, Extraordinary Network. The book asks the question whether you would rather have the top expert in the field, or one thousand ordinary people chosen at random. It is an interesting question. There are a few things that come to mind now that I have had time to process my thoughts.
What is an ordinary person? Is that me? I think I am an ordinary person in the sense that I don’t believe I am an outlier in many, if any, categories. This means that I, alone, will not likely solve a major mystery of the world. However, one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is that it is not just about what I can bring to the table myself, but what I can bring to the table with me.
It is through this, and similar experiences, that I have learned that I truly have an extraordinary network; built through several different times in my life. First, I have two incredible parents who know someone in what seems like every industry out there. I am also a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and was able to meet hundreds of people who I am personally connected with throughout my time on the General Fraternity staff. My current role in the NSBDC allows me to connect with any of my fellow business advisors in the over 1,000 SBDC offices around the country. My office is also housed at the University of Nevada, so I also have access to immensely intelligent minds spanning many subjects. And, finally, I have a wide network of friends throughout the country.
When it comes down to it, I have an extraordinary network that continues to grow. This offers me a tremendous opportunity to solve problems and get information from the people who know far more than I do about any given subject. Through this network, I feel like an old school telephone operator making connections from one side of the board to the other. This has been a great asset as I look for new and creative ways to solve problems that help others achieve success.
This has reiterated a powerful lesson to me – network and build relationships. I would rather have 1,000 ordinary people with each having a network of their own to help find solutions. While experts know their field, having 1,000, each with their own ideas, offers a level of strength that is difficult to match.
What is the best example of what you have been able to put together as a result of your network? Please add your response in a comment below.