It’s Time to be OPEN to Open Networking
In a great post by Michael Simmons, he states the three key traits of open vs. closed relationship building which you can see below:
Source: Michael Simmons, Business Insider
There are many examples of how being an open networker has transformed the careers and companies of some great leaders. One great example Michael references is how Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell Soup, turned the company around, driving employee engagement from 2:1 to 17:1 (engaged : not engaged) and organic sales growth to 2X the industry benchmark by following two simple practices:
- Walked 10,000 steps per day to visit people in the company across roles and divisions.
- Wrote 10-20 thank you notes per day to employees.
So instead of spending time strategizing with execs, or meeting with key industry luminaries, Doug spent time being open to many short interactions with people across his large global team. That was the big difference in how he transformed the company.
My Own Open Networking Story
At Nudge we needed to hire a front-end developer to accelerate our roadmap for our mobile social selling app. After a few failed attempts to directly connect via LinkedIn, I decided I would draw upon my personal network to find great front-end developer candidates.
I reached out to an old friend Chris Eben, who is the managing partner at The Working Group. I haven’t seen Chris in a while, so thought not only would it be great to get caught up, but also discuss with him the mobile developer talent scene in Toronto.
At lunch Chris gave me a recommendation to look at HackerYou, a front-end developer program that he had hired some great talent from in the past. So off I went and started reaching out to various students and graduates of HackerYou, which lead me to Anna Mackenzie.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Jane Somebody and the “Open Networking Moment”
One HackerYou grad (let’s call her Jane Somebody) responded to my inquiry, and told me that she was happy at her current job, but was wondering if we could meet anyway as she wanted to talk about “startups”. Since I have adopted a more open networking philosophy and always want to help other entrepreneurs, I decided to meet with her.
It was a great conversation, lively and she had a lot of interesting ideas. Meeting her was definitely worth it, and she is someone I would like to stay in touch with. However it came up that she was a snowboarder (shared interest), and wanted to eventually end up in Vancouver. I thought it would be great to connect her to James Smith – our lawyer and confident from La Barge Weinstein, who had recently moved out to Vancouver, and IMHO knows as much about the startup scene as anybody.
James is more than just a lawyer for us at Nudge, he is a board observer, and has been incredibly helpful well beyond just legal counsel. So when I reached out I knew he would help in whatever way he could. James replied and introduced both Jane and I to Cheryl Draper, who is the Community Developer Manager for wicked startup Unbounce, and also the Director of the Vancouver Chapter of StartupGrind. He thought she would be best to talk to about all things startup in Vancity.
Cheryl responded right away, and I had a good discussion with her about the startup scene and events in the west coast – which was helpful as we were evaluating sponsoring Grow Conference in Whistler (summer skiing anyone?). Hopefully I will get the chance to meet up with her when Unbounce comes to Toronto in June.
But James wasn’t done helping me (maybe because I was top of mind), a few days later he introduced me to Mark MacLeod, the CFO at Freshbooks who was just announcing he was leaving to startup SurePath Capital Partners, a strategic financial advisory firm who’s mission is to help startups with financing and exit strategies. We ended up having a great call as we may need his help with fundraising in the near future.
And as a final point in this story, It also turns out that one of our personal investors Jeff Fagnan, Partner at Atlas Venture – was also an early investor in Freshbooks. So Mark knows Jeff as well – which I am sure would help down the road as we explore options for funding with Atlas and other VCs.
And that brings my Open Networking story to a close…well at least for now.
Your Takeaway: take a 10-15 min. call you wouldn’t otherwise once per month, and become more “Open” to networking. Who knows what other fantastic people you will meet.