I have realized that reward is one of the motivations of man. While growing up, we were often taught that success is the reward of hard work. So, we found ourselves working so hard to achieve success. The same holds true for laziness and complacency. They too have their rewards. Most people, at some point in their lives, realise that they could have been better off if they had taken time earlier to weigh the rewards of excelling in their chosen fields. Many expected success to fall on them in their old age. But it hardly does.
The world only pays back in direct proportion to what you put in. Weak networking efforts result in a below-average network of contacts, while calculated and aggressive networking activities yield tremendous proceeds in a powerful network. I am sure we all desire the latter. Most times the rewards are beyond you, spilling over to your children and loved ones.
Most employees of organizations are often demotivated when the rewards of the job are not commensurate with the efforts expended. Surveys have often revealed that high performing establishments have a reward system in place for their workers. Ironically, most employees do not take time to consider the rewards of excelling at their work. They, thus, fail to keep in view the picture of the reward. Consequently, there is no inspiration to drive them to perform above average or do the extraordinary
Networking is a valuable skill for people across all cadres – from the security personnel to the Chief Executive Officer. I remember often being assisted by a particular security officer to get a good parking space in one of the banks in Lagos. Every time I visited the bank, he quickly stepped up with a smile and gave a helping hand. One day, he boldly walked up to me and said, “Sir, please pardon my disturbance. My son studied Accountancy and has just finished his National Youth Service. I would be happy if you can help him get a job.”
I was stunned. I told him I did not have any vacancy for his son then. But I gave him my card and told him to tell his son to drop his CV at my office. He did. About two weeks later, I was with a friend who needed an accountant in a new firm he just set up. Guess who came to my mind? Of course, the son of that security man! That is the reward of networking in action.
Please note that I am not implying that it works like this all the time. But I am certain that your chances of getting a faster payoff in life will be further brightened by effective networking.
The same holds true for vision-based networking. Once you have a vivid picture of what you stand to gain if you network effectively, your attitude towards networking will be more proactive. Remember the biblical story of David who singlehandedly brought down Goliath, the giant. Before David left for the battlefront to face Goliath, he had gone around the Israelites’ camp to inquire about what the rewards for killing Goliath would be. And the rewards were good enough to motivate him to go for the kill. Same way, you need to see the reward in your mind’s eye. There must be a personal buy in. It has to become a personal passion.
Before I got married, I wrote down what the rewards of getting married would be. I value a productive kitchen and the sight of children running around the house. I value being responsible and having a soul mate. These are a few rewards that motivated me to seek a partner. Seeing the rewards would create the inner inspiration to pursue and acquire the resources necessary to live your dreams.
Many years ago, I wrote down the rewards of networking, and I have ever since inscribed them in my heart to serve as motivation for me whenever a networking moment arises. I clearly remember a one-liner in my list that states, ‘Ferdinand, networking would take you to a place better than where you are.’ So, when a networking opportunity arises, I hear a voice screaming from within me, “Ferdinand, there is a place better than where you are, bigger than where you are, greater than you. You have the chance to move ahead. Take it, take it, and take it!” I call this my networking action-booster.
In my knowledge transfer sessions, I often tell participants that they should avoid complacency in networking and must be passionate about building their networking account. Act as if your networking account is one of your bank accounts, because it truly is. Always improve your networking ability; the fatter the account, the better for you and the better the rewards.
Just as the money in your bank account pays your bills, so the quality of your network creates the opportunities that guarantee you consistent business and income. The same way you ensure your account doesn’t go into debit is the same way you ensure your network account does not go dormant. You have to keep building your account. The dividends can be a lifesaver.