In the new, post-lockdown world we can’t yet predict what the long-term economic effects of Covid-19 are going to be. I don’t think my brain really wants to try and comprehend it to be honest. But something we do know is that we’re going to need a bit of a kick-start to try and get 2020, and beyond, back on track.
Boosting our businesses at any point can be tricky, and often require an injection of cash or the introduction of energetic people to bring a new lease of life to the company.
But what if neither is possible.
How are we meant to come back from the devastating impact this global pandemic is having on our businesses?
I truly, wholeheartedly believe that the answers are within our own capabilities, we just need to be building the right relationships and having the right conversations in order to find them.
You don’t know what you don’t know
Likelihood is you’re pretty well networked in your world. You know who your colleagues are, you know who your competitors are, and you hopefully know who your customers are.
In your bubble you’ve got it nailed.
You understand the world you’re in and the players within it: but what’s happening outside of your bubble? What do people know out there, and what are you missing out on?
We’re naturally drawn to people we have things in common with, because having things in common with someone builds trust, and we want to feel safe in our tribes. Having common interests also gives us something to talk about when we meet someone new (a networking issue that often terrifies people into not attending events at all).
The problem is when we only network within our own bubble we’re never really learning anything profoundly new.
If you’re in business and you only speak to other business people yes you’ll learn about slightly different ways they’re doing business, how they run their business, new business tips and tricks, even new things about their specific industry of business: but it’ll never be truly impact-full!
When we stay within our bubbles we can only learn from the people within it, and we miss out on the greater knowledge available to us.
We need to broaden our horizons and look beyond our own bubbles into the other areas of the economy where true knowledge transfer can take place. Where innovative conversations can flourish and real collaborations created, that not only lead to new opportunities, but to actions that have an impact on the world.
The Three Pillars
To build a powerful, diverse network you should be exploring these three worlds:
Odds are you’ll already be within one of the above: you’re a business operating within industry (I include public, private and charities within this), you’re in education as a student, academic, researcher or educator, or you’re in technology building, imagining and creating the foundations of the future.
Whichever pillar you’re predominantly in (you can be in multiple at one time), you’re probably not networking with both of the others.
This is where the problem lies: in order to rebuild our businesses and economies we need to be working together. Not just in our own bubbles but across the board: each pillar needs the other two in order to stand strong and truly innovate, collaborate and re-build a better version of what was before.
Businesses need to know about the amazing research being conducted by academics within higher education. They also need access to new talent and ideas. Students need to be aware of the world-leading SME’s on their doorsteps so cities can retain talent straight out of university. Technologists need to understand business best practice and management models so they can build companies from their visions for the future, employee more people and create sustainability within regions. They too need access to the latest research into reusable energy or philosophy or bionic limbs because that might have a direct link to their own work and what’s the point of all this amazing research being done if it can’t be shared with the world?!
Isn’t that the point? For our individual work to come together so it can have a greater impact?
Unless we share our knowledge with each other it’s all in vain. There’s no point working to find the answer if you don’t share it, or worse you find the answer to a question you didn’t know someone had even asked!
To rebuild the economy we need to burst our bubbles and start talking to each other. Sharing our expertise and building powerful networks personally and across the economy to ensure these three pillars are present and we can re-build the world better than it was before.
This is something I’m really passionate about, and if anyone reading this feels the same, would like to discuss ways we can bring people together from across the three pillars, or would just like to share ideas here’s my email: firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn.
To learn more about networking take a look at our online-learning courses now available on Udemy HERE!