Build Influence Who’s Running Your Farm (Next)?

The Value of Networking
How would you rate the value of your professional network today? If you needed to, could you directly call up the executive director of a statewide industry association? How about the national president of that association? Would your U.S. Senator take your call? If you needed media coverage, do you know the publisher of a major regional newspaper or the producer of your TV station?

Now, if you’re a business owner or c-suite exec, what about your successor? Have you introduced her to these people?

More importantly, is she beginning to build her own set of contacts?

While not all of these contacts may seem necessary, knowing who you can call when you need support is important. It’s called influence. I was first exposed to these questions by Andrew Neitleich, director of the Center for Executive Coaching, when I was earning my coaching certification. So, thanks to Andrew for these great triggers. Really, these questions are just asking you to quantify the value of your professional network and are designed to get leaders thinking about how to network with a purpose. Connections matter for a variety of reasons including strategic partnerships, lifelong learning, and maintaining awareness of critical market of industry information. If you’re one of those types that sees networking as pointless or self-promotional, you’re ‘doing it wrong’. It’s time to focus on connection. Here are a few of the things I value about networking:

Value of Networking
• Gain new perspectives on the industry
• Discover unique solutions to prevailing problems
• Broaden your outlook
• Share and commiserate on common interest
• Build a resource bank of people with different skills
• Be part of a community

“The digital revolution and societal shifts have brought us to a new period. It is called the Relationship Era. If the Industrial Era was about building things, the Social Era is about connecting things, people and ideas,” writes Judy Robinett, author of How to Be a Power Connector. Developing a high value peer network doesn’t have to be something that threatens to become a full time job. However, it does allow us to cultivate influence. Perhaps that is the most critical element of all. When we look at global markets and yet impact of our local neighbors on how we farm (even if we farm in some cases) and how agribusiness is perceived, we must consciously curate influence. We have to be visible, professional, and respected.

ACT Like a Pro Out There!

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