The power of networking is no secret. But I want to push you to take it a step further. Don’t just build a network, create allies. When you network effectively you hopefully meet new clients, service providers, and expand your following and reach over time. At this stage in your career you may even be an expert when it comes to working a room and networking and following up with your new contacts. As a seasoned professional networking is necessary but if your goal is to create and run an empire, aligning yourself with trusted allies is even more important. An ally differs from a networking contact in that an ally:
Is part of a long-term business relationship
Offers an objective voice
Is protective and rooted in loyalty
Long-term Business Relationship
You may have networked on and offline and created a great professional circle. Your circle may buy your products, attend your events, or like and share your social media posts etc. But a trusted ally gives much more. An ally wants to be an active participant in your success not a spectator. An ally will provide action and solutions and may take on roles such as business advisory, mentorship, incubation, or continuously introduce you to the people you need to be associated with in order to be successful all on a long term basis. Take note that an ally is not a fan nor someone who wants you to succeed so that they can ride your coattails! An ally will have their own established success and your relationship with them is a mutually beneficial partnership.
The business community and your personal circle is full of biases. Outsiders may have preconceived notions and ideas of you and your product which maybe untrue. Those who know and admire you may be too close to offer timely or efficient constructive criticism. An ally keeps an open mind and objective lenses so that they can offer feedback and instruction on all the matters that are beneficial to your brand.
Your allies will be there when you face roadblocks or failures. Their goal is to sharpen you, they are the leader’s leader and they don’t disappear during hard times. Their loyalty is to you not your success, your team, or your recognition. Too many times we are surrounded by people who want to attach themselves to our vision and our favorable outcomes but are noticeably absent during our setbacks. On the contrary, you may notice the presence of your ally even stronger during your darkest moments.
So how do you create allies and establish such meaningful professional relationships?
Your work ethic and talent will always be a people magnet. Your skill-set and dedication will court allies for you without you pitching yourself even once. If you are applying the majority of your effort and workday into your passion that is the move! Don’t stop. The right people will flock to you at the right time.
2. Communicate Effectively
Allies don’t form over night. As these relationships show potential and develop, clearly state what you need and what your intentions and objectives are. More importantly, be open to their communication including their criticism or views that differ from your own.
3. Remain Professional
A colleague or professional connection can only develop into a beneficial alliance when you have boundaries and remain professional. If lines are crossed and blurred you can mature the business relationship into a friendship. A personal crossover can hinder objectivity and the longevity of the relationship.
4. Be an Ally
If you want to create allies be an ally! An ally is not seeking to sponge off of your success but they aren’t volunteering their efforts and dedication simply as a favor or out of kindness either. There must be a mutual benefit. Seek to answer:
What can I offer as an equal ally?
What are his or her objectives?
What resources are missing that will help him or her reach his or her goal?
How can I support the long-term vision?
No matter what your mission and goals are; even if reasonable, you will struggle to reach them without help. You more than likely will spend a bulk of your day dealing with other professionals so make these moments count by building solid alliances! Winning alliances will empower you and give you outstanding results. Focus on building one relationship at a time. If you are like me you may even have to swallow your pride to allow the help and that is ok! Remember, when it comes to leadership and success, it’s not just what you do but how you do it, and who you do it with.
If this inspires you and you want more thoughtful commentary and discussions on leadership, success, professionalism, and more subscribe to my YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/DialogueWithDallas