5 Rules of Networking Relationships

Rules of Networking Relationships

I was asked recently about how to network. You know, that smarmy slimy act of swiping someone’s business card so you can endlessly harass them until they buy your stuff.

Or… there’s a better way…

Way back in 2008, I wrote up a (rather chatty) blogpost where I included the “rules” of networking relationships because of a situation that happened where I was working with a new account manager at a recruiting agency. He asked me some interesting questions about networking and adding people to my “network” (like its a jar of butterflies or something)

After a bit of thought, I replied to him that while I am very open about adding people to my network, I build my network very carefully and treat it not as a means to an end, but as a thing in-and-of itself, to be developed, cultivated and nourished for the value it inherently has.

“These are people,” I told him, “with hopes and dreams and passions. If you can tap into that, without violating some simple rules of relationships, you will have an inexhaustible supply of resources at your disposal.”

And, those Rules of Networking Relationships?

  • GIVE 10x to your network before you ever ask.
  • SEEK to become known as a Super Connector — the one people go to when they need to know people.
  • ENRICH the experience of those you are in contact with.
  • CLEARLY INFORM people in your network that you’re asking for something when you do. Sneaking a favor into a conversation is hardly the way to go. Being shy about it doesn’t work either. Call or connect with them, tell them you need help, and ask them precisely for what you need, and then LISTEN and DO what they recommend.
  • THANK them gratuitously for their help. (Yes, I used gratuitously on purpose… look it up)

I’m Proud To Be American (But Not Arrogant About It)

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In America, we’re celebrating our Day of Independence (July 4th) remembering our Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776. Its a day of patriotism, remembering fallen heroes domestically and overseas, and a day to pause and be grateful for our blessings as a great country–and I believe America is a GREAT country.

A few years ago, when speaking to several hundred middle school students, I told them three key things I wanted them to take away:

  1. The United States has the strongest economy in the world.
  2. GOOD OLD HARD WORK, Education and Entrepreneurship are the keys to staying ahead of the regular downturns in the economy.
  3. You won the Lottery–You’re in the United States! Whatever you had to do to get here, you’re LUCKY! You’re in the country with the most opportunity, the most freedom to choose and the most powerful infrastructure to find good, meaningful work anywhere in the world!

The thing I don’t want them to do is be arrogant about it!

As a recruiter, I see people over and over again coming to me expecting me to provide them something–as if the world owes them a paycheck!

In 2001, I was laid off and broke at the age of 25 with a small family and no future except I lived in AMERICA!

  • As chance would have it, I met people who knew life could be better than what I had.
  • They knew people like Jim Rohn and were willing to introduce me (and help me become a person who could appreciate the things life can offer).
  • I took advantage of the strongest economy in the world — the AMERICAN economy and changed my life forever.

Now, 13 years later, every single piece of my life is different… but I know it’s because, first, I live in America, I took hold of an opportunity and I worked hard… I changed.

And you can too… whatever your situation is, if you are lucky enough to be in AMERICA, you can have anything you really want (more than all other distractions).

And, like Jim Rohn, I invite you to come on that journey.  It’s a wonderful and fascinating one!

My wife and I with Jim Rohn, 2004

My wife and I with Jim Rohn, 2004

On Managing Expectations

Great Expectations by Sanithna Phansavanh
Life is full of expectations. And, if we’re not careful, they can get the very best of us.

It’s been said that “expectations are premeditated disappointments” and while Sam Walton is quoted as saying “High expectations is the key to everything”, another competing quote claims “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” (The Internet thinks this is by Shakespeare, but it’s not.)

In recruiting, we are constantly managing expectations:

  • Expectations from hiring managers who want and need the very best people
  • Expectations from candidates who want the jobs we’re offering and see no good reason not to get it (or why not to get the pay they’re asking for)
  • and expectations from ourselves (among others) to perform our craft with speed and efficiency yet at the very high bar of finding “top talent”

In each of these areas, the best recruiters I have seen have become experts at managing their own and others’ expectations.

Constantly, they are setting and resetting expectations.

In fact, it might be said that all the negative connotations out there about the craft of recruiting and headhunting likely boil down to a recruiter not adequately managing expectations on an item–knowingly or unknowingly–and then not having the courage or strength to make it right.

I read the fantastic book recently, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. It’s the second in a series still being written called The Stormlight Archive, and it’s really delightful reading.

Wit, a character in the books that seems to have some man-behind-the-curtain strings he’s pulling finishes book two with a rhetorical conversation he’s having with some plants and crab-like animals while waiting to meet someone.

“Expectation. That is the true soul of art. If you can give a man more than he expects, then he will laud you his entire life. If you can create an air of anticipation and feed it properly, you will succeed.

“Conversely, if you gain a reputation for being too good, too skilled . . . beware. The better art will be in their heads, and if you give them an ounce less than they imagined, suddenly you have failed. Suddenly you are useless. A man will find a single coin in the mud and talk about it for days, but when his inheritance comes and is accounted one percent less than he expected, then he will declare himself cheated.” – Wit, Words of Radiance

How many of us fall into such personal traps with our personal or professional lives? Have you felt cheated 1% and stewed on it for days (or years) and therefore lost the joy of the ninety-nine percent?

And yet, with our candidates, my personal philosophy is to carefully yet always honestly weave delicately the fabric that is a possible job offer. The tapestry can’t be spun all at once. Yet, if the image is woven in a way that is unclear or misses expectations, the deal will more-than-likely be off.

Never, ever tell a half-truth to your candidates about their positioning in the process or their overall skills compared to the job requirements or the competition. It sounds easier to tell them a pacifying lie to get them off your back or delay them, but being truthful about things is always the way to go.

However, remember your first job is to represent the company, too. Telling the truth and telling everything you know are not the same thing by a far measure.

So, here’s to trying hard to get it right. Keep setting and resetting expectations–for your candidates. Managers and yourself! Be truthful and honest to each of these stakeholders and the dividends will (eventually) show.

Tree

Time to Make Some History — Why I’m Working at Ancestry.com

Why bringing people to work for Ancestry.com seems to be in my DNA

After the dot-com crash of 2001, I was not the only person forced to reevaluate my career plan. Prior to that, I had accidentally fallen into the hottest job of the late 90′s–web development–and had the seeds of a fairly decent career as a JavaScript, HTML hacker with above average SQL database design and query skills (I totally undervalued myself to the market by the way).

Through the next several years, I began to verbalize something that had been silently nagging at me for a long time: I love technology, but especially when it enhances people’s lives.

In the years that followed, one thing led to another and I worked into a career I never had have imagined (or really knew existed), but have developed a deep, full passion for and happen to have a good knack for doing well–recruiting and talent acquisition.

In the last ten years, I’ve recruited people for some of the biggest and smallest, established and disruptive companies in the world. Everywhere I went, the job to find great people and help them make career choices that would change their lives and the companies we worked for has been a thrill. And, as of this week, I have begun a new chapter in my life with Ancestry.com, managing the talent acquisition function here and around the world.

Work for Ancestry.comWith more than 1,400 employees worldwide and a blossoming set of business lines developing new and exciting ways to help people manage their family history and discover relationships with living relatives and past ancestors, it’s not lost on me that my job, and my team, are finding people to create brilliant technology to help people find people and preserve their own family history.

It’s like the perfect combination for me of why I love technology, business and recruiting–to improve peoples lives in a way that’s meaningful, bridges generations and families, and has lasting value beyond even the length of our own lives.

There’s a lot of work to be done here and when I think of the volume of work to be done, I think of one of my favorite quotes:

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” (Theodore Roosevelt, 1903).

At Ancestry.com, we’re changing people’s future by helping them uncover their past.

I love that.

Now, it’s time to make some history.

LifeChapter++

Hanging with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and member of Fusion-io's Board

Hanging with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and member of Fusion-io’s Board

Today is my last day with Fusion-io. This has been an exceptional two years and four months.  I can’t express how excited and thrilled I am that I was able to be here.  It has been an amazing ride!

I came to Fusion-io in order to be a part of some of the world’s most disruptive storage technology, and that was absolutely what I got to take advantage of.  The rock stars that I’ve recruited still amaze me.  I know that it’s not about me, either, but it’s simply about the great technology and problems we have to solve that brings brilliant minds to work here.

I am leaving because an opportunity came knocking. I wasn’t out looking and I will repeat over and over that there is no reason I need or want to leave Fusion-io, but Monday, I will start a new adventure, in a new role, at a fantastic company doing some amazing things as impactful to human families as Fusion-io has been to digital storage… but I’ll talk more about that when the time comes.

For now, I am excited to leave behind:

  • A company with an expanded technical footprint across Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Boulder.
  • An exciting campus recruiting program working with more than 10 top-tier engineering schools around the country and some of the most-brilliant students I’ve ever met
  • A fantastic recruiting and HR team that I wish I could spend every day with still, even though there’s other fields I need to plow.
  • Terrific hiring managers that know how to really recruit and hire and retain great people.
  • The chance to meet and hang out with Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer and member of the Fusion-io family.

I believe fully in what Fusion-io has done and is doing.  I have absolutely no regrets for leaving other than I constantly wish I could have done more to support the technology and the great people I worked with.

There are GREAT THINGS coming from Fusion-io. I will be watching from the sidelines now, but can not wait to see our great work come to full fruition.

“Do more, faster” is the company motto. I will forever be changed because of this culture and the way everyone at Fusion-io has an insatiable desire to do more than believably possible.

LifeChapter++

Contact Deets:

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States People Can’t Wait to Move From

… And a few states where people are too stubborn to leave.

Vox has a great run down of stats about states where people are just itching to get out! For example a full half of people in Illinois and Connecticut are looking for the midnight train going anywhere.

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Curiouser than that? I get that Hawaiians are happy where they are, but what is happening in Montana and Texas that makes those people so dad-burn fixed on settlin’ down and not leaving?

I think they’re just antisocial.

Check the full article. Great stats and graphs.

2048: Great Game, But Better Resume

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2048 is a web-based game by Gabriele Cirulli, a 19-year old programmer in Northern Italy who likely just wrote the best resume he ever could have written–a super addictive HTML5 based game that’s mobile responsive and has the plus of being fun to play. I heard about the game from Kevin Marks on TWiG #241. He’s even been referenced by xkcd, which is the geek equivalent of a having your name on a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Huff Po explains it thusly:

The game has 16 tiles, and you start with two tiles with either a ’2′ or a ’4′. In each move, you swipe tiles either left, right, up or down, in order to match numbers and eliminate tiles.

While I work on my score, I’m grinning quietly to myself thinking how this guy just got himself a red carpet to any job he wants–or no job if he chooses to monetize this baby.

Good luck, Gabriele. Way to go. P.S. I’m hiring!!

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