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A Networking Tale by Kayode Olufemi-Ayoola

A Networking Tale by Kayode Olufemi-Ayoola

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Published by: Kayode olufemi-ayoola on Sep 01, 2012
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A Networking tale : A Philosophy
by
 
kayode.ayoola@gmail.com
 
A young lady, who I will call Jane (real name withheld), hired my services as her CareerManagement Coach a while back. After our preliminary sessions on self-awareness, in whichI administered several tests and psychometric tools; I proceeded to ask her to design the
next 10 years of her life. One particular goal caught my attention, “…to meet a Nobel prizewinner from a third world country.” 
 
I then asked her, “Who she had to “become” to meet th
is person? Her blank stare told meall I needed to know
she had no idea.My next session with her proved pretty interesting
she informed me that she now had the
man’s telephone number (I recall she had a smirk on her face as she waved the slip of 
pape
r containing his number right in my face). On hearing this, I said to Jane, “
since you
now have his number, why don’t you place a call through to him right now?
On
hearing this, Jane replied, “I can’t!”, I then asked her, “why not?”, she said, “oh I don’tknow”, I then said to her, let me tell you why you cannot call him,
“you have not become
the kind of person that can call him
you need to do your homework to unearth hishobbies, goals and even some of his challenges; you also need to find out what is he is likeas a human being, what is he passionate about, and some of his proudest achievements;when you are done with getting all this information, you then have to identify where youhave common interests with him etc. (Shared interests are often the building blocks of anyrelationship not common chitchat).What even stands out as more important than the above, is
who you are
(the fact that wemeasure everything and everyone by our own beliefs and impressions
the
reason why
we don’t see things as they a
re but as we are
), relative to the kind of person you aretrying to build a relationship with. What I am trying to say in essence is that you will onlyattract sustainable networking relationships in alignment with the kind of person you are
 all pointing to the importance of personal development in networking.
It’s hard to estimate these days how many working professionals in Nigeria have the
telephone numbers of influential persons in the society; obviously gleaned from diversesources, and in most cases these people do not know who you are. This happens because
many people believe that networking is about reaching out to people for helpwhen you need something
such as a job.
The truth however is that no one likessomeone who comes around when they nee
d something and disappears when they don’t.
You must build it before you need it
you must reach out long before you need anything atall (and this applies to everyone).
What real networking is?
Real networking, according to Keith Ferrazzi, is about finding ways to make other peoplemore successful , it entails sharing knowledge and information without expecting anythingin return, you must give and give and give freely first without keeping score
you pay itforward!Herminia Ibarra defined networking as, creating a fabric of personal contacts that providesupport, feedback, insight, resources and information. It entails the building of alliances;
 
these contacts provide important referrals, information, and often developmental supportsuch as coaching and mentoring.David Jensen also defines Networking as the process of establishing links between peoplewith the intent to promote communication for mutual benefit.
 
All these definitions put together show that Networking is not just a job seeking tool but aphilosophy, a lifelong career development tool; a tool that demands that you must give first
 
before expecting to receive, you must give to your social network support, feedback,insight, resources and information without any hidden intention to get anything in return
 building your social capital for a time in the future when you will need it.Let me give you a personal example, I started the Career Unit, well over 10 years ago, atDaystar Christian Centre (a church of over 20,000 members), with one objective, to providegraduate job seekers and career changers with information (through career educationworkshops, seminars etc.), and networking opportunities. I have literally coached thousandsof people(entry level and career changers), and held hundreds of group sessions, madescores of telephone calls and spent thousands of hours on behalf of people seeking oneadvisory help or the other.In fact there was a tim
e one of my church’s associate pastors told a lady seeking careereducation, “if you need career advice, go to our church facility and see kayode.” The ladythen asked for my telephone number, the pastor replied, “you do not need his number, just
go to the facility on Saturday; by the time you walk round the whole place, you will find himsomewhere
 
he’s always there!”
 All of these career education services were administered freely without any charge. Whenthe workload became huge I began asking seasoned
professionals (md/ceo’s; human
resources directors, trainers etc. to assist us in impacting lives
 
and they all offeredtheir services for free
. In return
I have been blessed with an unusual rolodex/networkof key relevant professionals in many organizations
because of my passion for theemployable state of the average Nigerian graduate. I have gained the trust of many seniorexecutives by
asking not what they could do for me, but what they could do to helpothers
 
my story taught me that the currency of building networks is generosity.
I have a dream to grow my network until it gets to the “network zone” –
a place where mynetwork gets so broad and deep that almost anything can be accomplished through it.
Myobjective is to give without remembering and receive without forgetting
. Dale
Carnegie said, and I love this “You can be more successful in two months by becomingreally interested in other people’s success than you can in two years trying to get otherpeople interested in your success.” 
 To your success!Kayode Olufemi-ayoola, Certified Career Management Coach
“We can be depended on to tell you what you don't want to hear, to help you see what you don'twant to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be”
Executive Toolkit
 

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