So… how did you answer that question?
I have been talking with various clients lately about “networking”, and I often ask people when they’ve made a new friend; initiated a new relationship; or made an effort to create a professional connection; and the reason is simple – networks change and shift, and so do we.
For me, there are three key elements to a solid network:
1) Networks are a “net” and they require work! We need to put an effort into the relationships that make up our network. We need to regularly initiate, build and sustain relationships. They are what makes the world go round!
2) Networks are organic and living entities, not static lists! And so, yes, every once in awhile you need to make a new friend. It may be a new professional relationship, it may be a personal one, it may turn out to be a close relationship, or it may be a more casual one. Regardless, it is a new one, and that means you are “shaking up your world” just a bit, and that, I believe is something we all need to do every now and then.
3) Networks need to be diverse! While it’s lovely to have people on our networks who are just like us, and who agree with and share our ideas and perspectives, we also need those who will challenge our thinking, give rise to new and different ideas, and provide a perspective that we may not have otherwise considered. I want a network that has people of different ages and stages, people who do what I do, and people who do something completely different, those of different cultures and backgrounds, those who took different educational paths, grew up in different places, had career paths in places I never dreamed of… you get the idea.
Networks are our relationships! Enjoy yours, and yes, go make a new friend!