Leverage on Your People Network (Article) HRF Q1_2018

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Have you ever wondered why someone would attend a cocktail, seminar or wedding without interacting with anyone and then say, “The people are nice just that I was shy to approach them?” We would have to talk about shyness in another publication and provide strategic ways to overcome it.

Not long ago, I was privileged to be recruited to join the Global Shapers community of the World Economic Forum, Accra Hub (www.globalshapersaccra.org) where I serve as the Assistant Project and Fundraising Lead. This opportunity came because I took advantage of a friend’s post on Facebook, which advertised the opening to recruit new members into the hub. A year down the line, I have interacted with many professionals and colleague hub members, who have given me the opportunity to learn a thing or two from them professionally. I have also developed cordial relationships with people from various professional backgrounds.

A lot of times, people get the opportunity to interact with CEO’s, Managing Directors, and entrepreneurs but they fail to ask the right questions at the right time. This makes it difficult to unlock certain opportunities that could be made available.

Here are a few tips to consider on how to leverage your network to make a positive impact in your society and in your business. First, let us understand what leveraging means.

Leveraging is the ability to use something to a maximum advantage” according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. For example: Organising a cleanup exercise and asking people to volunteer. To this extent you become more efficient and accountable for the actions you take. Do not forget to maximise the resources you have to benefit others, especially if it is possible to do so.

A question to consider is why should you leverage at all on whatever project you are working on?

Leveraging is the key to going beyond what you already have. Just like a crowbar, leverage allows you to harness the power of good positioning and strategic application of energy to move mountains.

Economic growth: Your workforce is the most valuable asset. The knowledge and skills they have represent the fuel that drives the engine of the business. Learn to leverage that knowledge.

Industrialisation: In the era where industries are springing forth, sometimes, some smaller manufacturing companies can just grow by following similar core strategies their competitors use. Trying to maximise your potential to make impact has a lot to do with networking with people and sharing ideas. Quite recently, I read a viral article that stated that certificates and grades alone do not define your future but networking with the right people along the line and learning to improve on what you already know keeps you ahead.

Networking is a process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share a common interest. By sharing ideas, people find their business partners, life partners, co- founders and many other prospects.

It is always advisable to define the scope of what you want to know before approaching people. Put your ideas in shape.

Even as we are encouraged to share our ideas with people, we are faced with challenges such as;

Individualist approach: let me do it alone always

Misappropriation of resources: no checks and balances

Trust issues: having a hard time trusting company A + B

We must not relent on sharing that billion-dollar idea with a prospective investor despite the fears of the unknown.

These approaches are the surest way to maximise your social network to make a positive impact in society or in business.

Strategic partnerships: Most often, companies have strategies in place to check the outcome of any project they embark on. Sometimes, you can save a lot of money, time and resources, if you find some organisations that share similar vision with your organisation.

Team work: This is a no-go area for some people. However, you are likely to meet someone who would be interested in your idea and hence, would want to feature the concept to make it more feasible and influential. It is necessary to learn the nitty gritty of working in smaller groups/teams to harness the ideas of other team members to make an impact.

Volunteering: Another effective way to make lasting impact is to volunteer an hour or more towards a positive cause in society. People get recommended for a demanding role just because they have devoted some time to learn, assist and guide a group of people on charity work. Volunteer today!

Investment: People fail to invest in something worthwhile. I recently gathered from my colleagues at work that investing money in a talent/ business with your business partner boosts your level of confidence and creates more platforms for others to learn from you. Sometimes, you might not be aware of the impact you want to make if you fail to invest in something that brings you so much fulfillment.

If you decide to go along and practice these 4 nuggets, your year would be fruitful. Let me borrow the words of George Soros, a Hungarian-American investor and business magnate. – “It is much easier to put existing resources to better use than develop resources where they do not exist.”

Be resourceful and leverage on your social network to make a positive impact in 2018 and beyond.

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