How Strong is Your Network?
Have you ever been in a situation regarding an aspect in your business knowing that if you do not take action soon you will be overwhelmed and possibly end up making a fatal mistake or lose the business altogether?
Perhaps in your personal life, the swift currents of personal obligations, bills, family commitments, and even a crisis of faith or purpose have started to swirl around you.
The currents can surround you suddenly with no warning, or they may build gradually around you until they threaten to push you into a crisis. However the flow builds up, having a strong network to assist you in surviving the emergency is a necessity.
As some of you know, I enjoy white water kayaking as a way to take a Zero Day to recharge my batteries. In order to be safe on the water and to be of assistance in an emergency, I went through some great training to learn swift water rescue skills. In this class, we worked on a rescue technique known as a wedge rescue.
When someone is in dangerously strong currents threatening to push him or her over into the water resulting in a drowning situation or causing serious injury, sometimes using traditional tools like a lifeline or reaching out to the person in trouble will not work and the rescuers must head into the water to help get the person to safety.
The rescuers by themselves cannot effect a rescue because the current is simply too strong and could result in the individuals being caught up in the danger. However, a strong network of rescuers can work together to move into and block the current from the person in distress.
As a business and personal coach, I stress the importance of building and cultivating a network that you can add value to and assist when members are in need. The other part that is equally important is to be a part of a group that you can turn to when you need assistance.
A highly functional network whether it be a personal or business network is one that has the following three characteristics –
Trust – The network has built over time the trust needed so the members can be open with each other about issues that maybe embarrassing or personal. Building trust is a long process but you and the members of your network can build trust by being both good listeners and by taking small purposeful actions when members are in need. Once a history of has been established of doing the small things for each other, when the time comes assisting with the big things will not feel strange or uncomfortable.
Tell it like it is – You and your network need to be honest and frank with each other. It is important to respect boundaries but, being honest starts with small steps for all parties. The person providing feedback needs to be comfortable enough to call out potential missteps. The person receiving the feedback needs to understand that the person speaking is offering the best advice or counsel they have.
Hurt feelings? Accept it and move on – When your network is providing input about a problem you are trying to resolve, or an idea that you are thinking about it is natural to become a little defensive. The advice and actions of your network may reveal that you did, or are about to make a mistake or that you were too optimistic about an opportunity. The choice is yours whether or not to move past the hurt feelings and possible embarrassment. I am betting that you are strong enough and wise enough to get over it.
Coach’s Wrap Up
So what does all this talk about networks and river rescues have to do with each other? On a river when someone ends up in a bad situation, that person’s network quickly sets about developing a plan based on trust and honesty. The rescuers might even wade into the dangerous waters together to form an eddy or an area of calm around the person in need. When the network is in a position, they may even hurt someone (physically – possible broken foot or similar) temporarily as they move them to a place of safety.
What kind of network do you have around you to help you with your business? Are you willing to rescue/help someone in need? Are you willing to be helped if you are in trouble?