How do you make things happen? I mean important things, for example, getting your innovation idea to the next stage, securing funding to scale your business or even finding the right people to join your team?
I believe that the important things get done faster and more effectively because of who you know. Your speed of progress relies on your networks.
Consider this. Someone asks you for a favour. How do you decide whether you do it? From my experience there are three key factors;
- What’s in it for you? – will it help you further your goals, will you enjoy it, will it be a good experience, will you learn something new, will it raise your profile or make you feel good?
- How they ask – have they thought about what’s in it for you, have they considered and overcome obstacles that might prevent you from doing the favour, have they made it easy for you to say ‘yes’?
- Do you know, like them and trust them? – how well do you know them, are they credible, do you like them, would you feel good to help them out?
When these three factors are all in all place things happen fast. If one or more factor isn’t quite right, then progress stalls.
Psychology and trust
For example, if someone you know (like and trust) sends you an email, you’re more likely to read it than an email from a stranger. The email asks you if you’d meet a colleague to give them some advice, near your office (because they know you’re busy) and at a coffee shop (because they know you like coffee) and they make it clear that they’re appreciative that you would consider helping them out. They also suggest that the colleague might have skills and experience that could help you with a project that you’re working on.
You’re more likely to read the email because you know the person, and even more likely to say yes because they’ve asked you well and spelled out what could be in it for you.
Knowing people gets you thought the door. Asking well makes it more likely the person will say yes.
Diversify your contacts
It makes good business sense to focus on building your networks, because when you know more people there are more opportunities for doors to open.
And when it comes to innovation having a diverse network is important. Research shows that humans tend to gravitate to other people like them, people from similar backgrounds, with similar viewpoints. When we all have a similar experience, we start to think the same. We start to operate in an echo chamber of our own similar ideas.
If innovation is about thinking differently and developing new ideas then we need people in our network that are different from us, that will challenge and build on our ideas. And because we naturally gravitate to people like us we need to be deliberate about seeking out a diverse network made up of different experiences, perspectives and thinking.
That’s where, I believe, successful innovation lies.
Lucy Gower is a trainer coach and consultant, author of the best selling Innovation Workout and global speaker on innovation and creativity. She founded the Lucidity Network because who you know is fundamental to your business success.
The Lucidity Network is a business development network that combines a mix of face-to-face meet-ups, online toolkits and access to a friendly and professional community that provides advice and connections to help you get the business results you want. Click here for more information on how to join the Lucidity Network.
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