Your Network. Who’s In And Who’s Out

Rich man in helicopter

In this post I’m going to give you three steps that you can take in order understand the value of your network and to understand whether someone is a good connection, someone that you should add to your network or bad connection, someone that you shouldn’t.

Understand The Value Of Your Network

Step number one is really understanding the value your network. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is not really getting this concept. That’s how they add add random people, or they let people kind of stay in their network or stay in their phone or their contact list. Also, we keep people who have proven themselves not to be good connections. They’re not generous, they don’t help you. They’re not nice people, they’re nasty. There are people that generally we know we should stay away from, but somehow they remain in our circle.
I really want to clear clear that up in this post. A large part of that is because we don’t understand the value that we bring to someone who is in our network. The reality is there’s something called the network effect, and some people know it is Metcalf’s law or Reeds Law. What this means is that there are rules in effect. These rules show that if someone is in your network or the value of a network is actually exponentially increased by. the value of everybody in that network, which means that if everyone is working together the synergy increases. Synergy is what makes a network very valuable, because when you introduce someone to your network, you are inadvertently giving them access, maybe in direct access, but access nonetheless to all the other people in your network. And that’s when it becomes very powerful and all the people in your network work together, it’s a trusted bond based on their mutual relationship with you.
We’ve all done it like, let me introduce you to my friend, or let me introduce you to this contact, and that both of those contacts assume the best about the person based on their relationship with you.
And that’s why it’s so important to only add good connections or only keep good connections in your network. It’s really difficult to know whether someone is good or not before you’ve worked with them. But once you add them to your network is going to be important that you only keep them there if they’ve proven themselves to to be a good piece of your network. And they’ve shown that they will add to your synergy, as opposed to reducing the amount of synergy.Because if you have a couple of bad apples, and I know that’s an old statement, one bad Apple can spoil the bunch.
If you have one or two people who are bullies or, you know, just generally not good people or who don’t reciprocate favors, tend to decrease the value of your network. That’s why I want to talk about how we do that. And so the way you do that is by understanding what your values are. So I know I talk about value, which is the size and strength of your network, the power of your network. That’s the value.

Know Your Values

Your values are the glue of your relationships. They keep the network together. Think about what your core values are. For many of us they trustworthiness, generosity, authenticity, empathy, kindness. Those words are your values. You want to find people to add to your network who have similar values. Now, of course, it will be impossible for everybody to value the same thing at the same level, but you can select people to be in your network or continue to have relationships with people who have similar values. If you find out that someone isn’t trustworthy or they’re just not generous. Those type of people you want to remove from your network. But what you have to do first is identify your own values, and it’s something that you shouldn’t just take for granted. Do the work. I always recommend to my clients that you actually Google a list of core values. And online there are several different sites that will have a list of value words, and sometimes there’ll be 50 words, 100 words. And within there you should pick four or five. They really resonate with you what is really important to you. And then as you start to build your network, you’ll find people who those words are also important to them. You find people who would never lie intentionally or steel or not reciprocate a favor someone has asked them. So that’s why it’s important. First of all, you have to identify what your values are and then find people who have similar values.

Align Your Network With Your Goals

So the third step is really understanding where you’re trying to go. Again, it’s something that you can’t take for granted. The people in your network should be there for specific purposes. My pastor used to say that people are in your lives for a reason and a season. Find the people who can help you get where you need to go. That comes down to identifying your goals. But as you’re identifying your goals, where do you want to go over the next year or five years or 10 years? Also identifying the people who can help you get there. Most of us have a budget, financial plan or maybe you have a business plan or a career plan. But very few of us have a people plan. A people plan is a list of goals followed by a list of people who can help you reach that goal. Sometimes you can have a specific name or just a type of person who if you had them in your life would make your journey much easier. Next, you go about finding those people. So that’s why it is so important that you understand where you want to go and who you need to have, because that’s also another way of understanding whether somebody is going to be a good connection for you.

If you have someone in your contacts or in your network who you know isn’t going the same direction you’re going, they’re not going to attract the type of people that you need to attract to your network. If they’re not going to be the type of person who could add synergy based on where you’re trying to go, then you want to limit your relationship with those people and just focus and limit the relationship. Probably sounds harsh, but the reality is that you only have so much time and energy in a day, and it’s actually a limit on the number of social relationships that you can have. There’s something called Dunbar’s number, which was invented by a guy named Robin Dunbar back in the 80? The studies on how many simultaneous social relationships human I can have. The number is about 150. Now, of course, that’s going to differ for different people. But when you think about if you can only have 150 people in your life, who would those people be? We never give that any thought. But if you do give it some thought, then you can kind of focus on those relationships that will bear the most fruit.

Those are the three steps I wanted to give you on how to understand the value of your network and whether someone’s going to be a good addition to your network or a bad addition.