Great Networks and Partners Are Where You Find Them
Last week was an exciting example of how Twitter has moved seamlessly into our lives. I left for D.C. on Wednesday stayed through Monday. It was the most productive week. Ideas were flying. Plans were being made.
How could so much happen in a city where I’ve hardly spent time?
It started with a quick conversation on Twitter with @SweetSue about her blog. Next thing you know, Susan Kuhn Frost, and I were planning an Association conference over several long phone calls, twitter DMs, and emails.
Susan had reached out to her networks — online and offline. I did to mine too. By the time I arrived in the capitol city. We had a week of meetings planned that made the conference and the content come together in record time. In the process, I think we both taught each other a lot. I’m delighted to have her in my network.
But I bet the story isn’t that unusual.
Building Your Powerful Personal Developmental Network – Is Your Next Teacher on Twitter?
Most of are great at seeing others, but it’s hard to see AND be the one we’re looking at. Whether we’re a company or an individual, it’s easy to find reasons that we made our successes, but that our failures were due to other circumstances. That’s where a powerful personal developmental network can keep things real.
In his new book, “Who’s Got Your Back?” Keith Ferrazzi talks about lifeline friends. They’re the sort of friends who hold us accountable and won’t let us fail. He suggests we build a handful of relationships based on vulnerability, generosity, candor, and accountability that’s reciprocal, constant, and intelligent.
Take Keith’s qualities and roll them into my definition of a Personal Developmental Network — a group of incredible people, individually chosen because of their unique abilities and their genuine interest in your success.
Imagine the power of that. It’s a personal board of directors time ten to the 23rd power!
Every day I touch base with people I trust — like Susan — to check my thinking and to stay accountable. Staying consistently in touch with my partners keeps the projects we’re working strong and able to move with action when opportunity arises.
My partners are a core part of my Personal Developmental Network — intelligent, incredible people, who help me stay on track with my most important goals. Many of my closest advisers are right there in my Twitter stream.
Building A Powerful Personal Developmental Network – Is Your Next Teacher on Twitter?
Success for me, is when my whole life — head and heart — are focused on the same purpose. So my network helps me grow as a human meant to achieve something. I also believe that a network that grows with me will offer priceless depth and support.
To do that, build from the ground up.
1. Start with a foundation of concrete not sand.
— Qualitative Observations: Ask people who know you to describe your strongest traits — those that serve you well and those that get in the way. Make list. Then make a list of the kind of teachers who can teach you.
Use Twitter to ask questions and to find people who know what you’re looking to find out.
On Twitter, you’ll recognize the people who know you best by the way that they receive you. When we’re communicating people who know us, we don’t need to edit our behaviors for fear they’ll be misinterpreted. Explain why you’re asking and offer them more than one way to give you feedback: directly to you via DM, via email, or through an interview by a mutual friend.
— Quantitative Assessment: Check every test, performance appraisal, and personality measure you’ve taken. Ask your twitter friends for others that might offer a fresh view of your online persona. Learn what you can from all of them.
— Personal Reflection: Spend an hour / day for a week thinking about personal and business successes in your life. Look for traits and strategies that show up throw all of them.
2. Lay out a path.
Look three years down the road. Where do you see your best self? If you can’t pick a path, that’s a great place to start.
Pull it all together. Then look for online and offline partners who might help you define and refine what you found.
3. Wisely choose unique and valuable guides.
Choose people you would bet your life success and your reputation on — people who share your standards and your values, and who care enough never to let you fail. Choose people strong enough to tell you when they disagree. A strong network might include:
— a close friend who knows you and your history, both business and personal.
— someone from your business industry who knows you less well
— two or three someones who are from other industries
— two or three someones you respect and admire, but don’t know well
Use Twitter to choose people who can see the “you” people online see.
4. Check your bearings regularly.
Decide how you’ll meet with them. Will you call when you have questions or meet regularly? Will you meet one at a time? Check in with your network by asking, “How’ve I changed that you can see?”
Demand they hold you accountable. Do it by trading ways that you might hold them accountable for something they need to accomplish of their own.
5. Don’t Leave Out Learners.
People who are learning often teach us just by the questions they ask. Invite a learner to join your network to help you on your quest. That will make it easier to be a learner yourself.
When someone teaches you a skill, ask how you might use that skill to help that teacher. Ask questions, listen actively, and be first to offer a favor without strings. People remember sincere curiosity and true generosity. Add vulnerability and accountability and the combination is unstoppable, just as Keith Ferrazzi says.
6. Ask for Help — Communicate. Let your network know when you need help, when you have questions, or even when you need to vent safely. A developmental network that doesn’t know where we are can’t help.
A developmental network is not made from casual friending or among random followers. It’s the people who understand why we’re passionate about our calling. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find the right folks on Twitter and getting to know them well.
Wise teachers show up in all sorts of places.
Watch for and welcome every wise teacher you encounter. Wisdom and experience are a prize. True teachers show themselves by offering advice, expecting nothing in return. Mentors who come your way, offering experience and connections, see something in you. Let them help you discover what that is and what it could be if you let it grow.
Welcome all wise teachers into a Powerful Developmental Network, wherever you find them.
Nobody likes to go it alone, and it’s not a good idea. We need each other for information, insight, and inspiration.
Is your next teacher on Twitter? You never know.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Liz can help you find focus or direction, check out the Work with Liz!! page.