Networking Quote of the Day:

"Give first, give often and expect nothing in return. When you do this treasures will arrive in amounts all out of proportion to what you gave." Ken Tudhope.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Perfect Differences Between Excellent People

You ever scratch your head?

I do, all the time. The things that make me go "hmmm?"

Maybe this is why I’m bald…

Maybe wisdom made me bald.

I know many, many, many people.  My friends are all over the world, because I don’t let anyone go. Today I received a gift from a top CEO in Canada who I met when he was a CFO in California.  The wine will be nice, but the thought of him as my friend brings me joy beyond anything I could ever buy or receive.  In fact, I’m sure I know the best people on earth.  You are probably one of them.

What, you wonder, then makes me scratch my head to baldness?

It’s the fact that I could never choose the greatest of you all.  I think it's tough to separate the  “A's” from the “C's.”  Unfortunately my “A’s” might be your “C’s,” and the consensus “A’s”  are too numerous to count.

What I want to communicate is that I had to know many,  many people before I really understood  and respected the perfect differences between excellent people.


Networking is an education one can’t get any other way. And it's free.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Professional Introductions

This week I am going to speak to a group of business people in Orange County about introductions.  Some people call them elevator speeches; others call them 30 second commercials.  I'm going to do the talk and certainly won't let down my good friend who invited me to speak, but frankly, I don't think these types of introductions are all that important and really haven't spent much time preparing mine.
As I prepared for the talk, I realized what really matters is listening to others.  Some people think that with a good "30-second commercial" you can catch people's attention and jump-start a business relation.  I think most people don't remember what they hear.  One of the main reasons that they aren't listening is because they are mentally rehearsing their own "elevator speech" while the other person is delivering theirs.  A lot of chatter, but nothing gets through.
My advice to the group, will be to keep introduction very short and to be unique and be valuable.  10 seconds is enough.  A question or offer of assistance is always good.  Finish and get back to listening and learning about others. 
My goal as I meet new people is to select a few people to follow-up with.  If you are selling, these are potential clients or referral sources.  If you are not selling, you might pick interesting and noteworthy people to follow-up with. 
My network of contacts is unique and valuable so my introduction will mention it and I will offer myself as a resource.  10 seconds will be more than enough time.
"My name is Ken Tudhope and I know more current and future CFOs in Orange County California than anyone else. If this network could be valuable to you, let me know. If you know a finance executive I may not know I'd love an introduction.  Again,  Ken Tudhope, Managing Director of Project Pro Search Group.”
My comment about "knowing more CFOs than anyone else" is a bit audacious and might be remembered.  I might also be remembered for keeping the introduction short.  I conclude the introduction by repeating my name and my company's name and that might also might be remembered, but I don't really expect people to remember me from an introduction.
I am remembered because I am consistent and generous.  Call it what you will, I call it Networking.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

They do the Work, You get the Network


Most people associate a job search with fear and loathing. The process seems to shake many of us to our core, especially men.  Suddenly, the job seeker is on the outside looking in, no longer a part of the might or a part of the main: no team, no brand, no title or income. Most job changes happen without a search, through recruiting or promotion so even very experienced executives are novice job searchers.  There seems to be plenty of advice for job seekers, but really very little training or support. 

 

Done right, there are many up-sides to a job search, e.g. personal growth, self-development, and new opportunity, but I will save that discussion for another Note.  This Note is about connecting.

 

Over the past two weeks I have met and begun building relationships with four incredible people (I met two of the four at an FEI meeting). They all have amazing resumes with top MBAs, Big-4 experience and successful executive careers. All four are job seekers and all of them came to me ready to connect.  Their resumes in hand; I learned an incredible amount about each of them, more than I could discover in a lifetime of networking events.

 

All four job seekers were somewhat confused, frustrated and nervous.  They wouldn’t admit it, but I could hear it in their voices and sense it in their body language. One unfairly took me to task for delaying a response to an e-mail by a day or two.  I didn’t take it personally, it was just stress.  I’m sure they were all motivated to connect.

 

I find job seekers to be much more open and easier to connect with than those in a job. You get the whole person. They are more open and humble because they need help.  Connecting with job seekers is easy because I have no problem giving first.  That “gift” is usually as simple as time and attention, but can also be an introduction, idea or inspiration.  Occasionally I place one of them with a client. 

 

In business, on the other hand, you get access to only part of most people.  They are usually busy and come with a “mask and shield.”  They live behind their title and role in their company, and we experience their interpretation of what that means.  They channel their boss’s “mask and shield” and stay confined within the corporate culture.   Job seekers’ are more open and basic; communicating a whole and more interesting persona.

 

Most people well into their careers rarely meet new people and when they do it’s usually the same busy people in a job and everyone’s got a professional agenda.  I recommend you spend some time with a job seeker.  They do the work and you get the network.

 

 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Which would you rather be: a sled dog or a wolf?  A work-a-day stiff or a networker?

These days you turn on your TV and you can see almost anything.  I once turned from a sled-dog race to a pack of wolves tacking down and killing a bison in Yellow Stone.  Both were amazing. Base.

Sled dogs will die for their masters; wolves don't need even use a master.

The sled dogs so want to pull and will do anything for the driver.  They are well train and organized.  The wolves seem less well organized with some sprinting and other jogging, some seemed to be just waiting to eat.  Nonetheless they chased the giant buffalo until the heard trampoled one of their own.  The poor thing became dinner for the pack. The wolves created so much fear in the heard that the buffalos ran out of control and ultimately ran over of of their own.  As I watched, I thought that that there was no way the wolves could take down a Bison.  The wolves were a fraction of the size of the buffalo.  Then the wolf pack used the buffalos' own fear and size to cause them to deliver a dimished buffalo to the pack.  Weakened after running and being trampled.  I couldn't have guessed this would happen until I saw it.  Much more entertaining than an organized race.

Months later I am reading Daniel Pink's book, "Free Agent Nation" and it makes me think of the difference between wolves and sled dogs.   Sled dogs are amazing; organized, using technology, lead by man, not worried about their next meal. Wolves, on their own, facing extension, man as an advisary, facing a bison.

I couldn't help myself, I would want to be a wolf.

You know what they say about sled dogs?  "The scene only changes for the lead dog."

Suddenly, I didn't think much of those sled dogs or even what they could accomplish. Sure, I left corporate america on my own volition, but I couldn't help to see m


My Big H.U.G.

Over 20 years ago I attended a talk by a former Harvard professor who now goes by the name Ram Dass, who, according to Wikipedia, is a “contemporary spiritual teacher who wrote the 1971 bestseller Be Here Now.” Formerly known as Dr. Richard Alpert, he was educated at Tufts, Wesleyan and Stanford Universities, but is probably best-known for his controversial association with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960’s.

As he entered the lecture hall, I noticed audience members approaching him and giving him a hug! The sight made we wonder if I too might want to hug Ram Dass. He was far enough away that I had time to ponder the idea of hugging this big, strange person with the odd name. There was still time to get away.  As he came closer I sensed his warmth and compassion, and I decided to give him a hug like the others had done. When I hear the term “warm and fuzzy”, this image of my hug with Ram Dass plays back in my mind. I will never forget the feeling of his wild hair and the smell of his Indian clothes.

I often write about the technical activities of networking. I have written Networking Notes about sending birthday cards, about giving more than you get, and about networking through groups which I call “Sign-up, Show-up, Follow-up and Step-up.” I encourage people to use the technology: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter just to name a few. It’s all good stuff and will help you create and grow strong connections, but only if you’re willing to give a “HUG” to others. If you’re not approachable and welcoming, or if people don’t like you, none of the tools matter. In fact, a hand-written card from someone you don’t like is irritating. To help you remember to HUG your connections, I developed the following acronym for “HUG”: Humbly interact, Understand their situation, Give more than you get. If you do these things you will become “warm and fuzzy” to others and your connections will increase.  I think the hug itself is more important than humility, understanding or giving first.  Let go and do it.

If you need a real hug, however, let me know. I will squeeze you.  It’s good networking and great medicine!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

So Much More Than an Answer to a Question

Given my age, many of my friends have children who are in college or who are applying to college; I have three.  The first order of business is getting them into a school worth attending that is also affordable.  So far, we have two at the University of California.  Neither of my first two boys got into college on their high school grades; one went to community college and then Berkeley, the other is a good athlete and received a sports admissions waiver to play water polo at Davis.  They are good kids, but just didn’t mature enough academically in high school.
Once they got into college my best advice was for them to attend their professors’ office hours. ALL OF THEM: EVERY PROFESSOR, EVERY WEEK – week in and week out. It was in college that I realized relationships are more valuable than intellect. I figured this out for myself as a junior in college and had a good academic career after that in both undergrad and business school.   I wanted to impart this wisdom to my sons.

One listened, the other didn’t (yet).  The one who listened has an almost 4.0 GPA at the Haas business school at Cal; the other, not so much.  No problem, he is a top athlete and is progressing nicely toward graduation. He is basically finding himself like so many college kids, but I’m still on him.  “Did you go to office hours?” I ask.  “No dad, I didn’t have any questions.” He replies. “Did you go to office hours…?” “No.” "No." "No."

“Son, don’t you see, office hours offer so much more than an answer to a question. You can get to know your professor, and who knows, you may need a reference some day or good advice from an expert.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  Also, if you hang around long enough they might give you hints about what’s on the test – the professors I knew couldn’t help it.  You always get the benefit of the doubt on grading when the professor can relate a face to a name on the page. Finally, you will meet the top students in the class (they are always the ones attending office hours). They can help you too. “ 

“Make up a question!” I advise.

I bet you have similar conversations with your college-aged sons and daughters.  I consider it the reward for good parenting.

After one of these conversations recently, I realized that office hours are a form of networking.  In fact, they are likely the first real opportunity for future professionals to benefit from the power of relationships.  Deciding to attend office hours, however, is much like deciding to attend networking events.  “Why should I go, there are so many salespeople and job seekers there,” my absentee FEI-OC friends tell me. 

Sounds a lot like,  “I don’t have any questions…” to me. 

They stay at the office (the wrong kind of office hours) until they get displaced and then there they are at the FEI events (read my Networking Note entitled “A Network of One” at www.networkingnote.com). It funny, because they all seem to show up asking questions like “Where’s my next job?” Who can help me with my search?”

Don’t forget, there’s so much more to networking than the answer to a question.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nebraska, Kansas and the Keys to A Castle Full of Gold


This afternoon a competitor is coming to my offices.  "Why let him in," my partners asked.  "Opportunity," I replied.  "Opportunity for whom?" they grumbled. 
 
"Think of it as networking and you'll feel better," I thought, but didn't speak out loud to my two Partners who are both tough, smart and accomplished business women.
 
I always remember the masses of people who worked at Robert Half when I was there.  If the "little guys" could work more effectively together, I think we'd all be better off.  Instead we worry about each other.  Well my Partners worry, I'm not so worried...

A good friend from Nebraska read this blog and the next time I talked to him I asked him what he thought.  You know those people from the Midwest, they're not only honest, hardworking, patriotic, good looking and down to earth, but they're also smart!  He said, "Ken, the blog's pretty good, but why in the world would you give away the keys to the castle?"  The keys to the castle... I wondered what he meant.  "You've got all your best information in there, all someone has to do is read your blog and they can do everything you do."

Wow, I thought.  What am I doing? Had I gotten all caught up in the whole Internet thing and started blogging before I considered all the ramifications?  The first rule of networking is to give first, but maybe I'm giving too much and maybe I shouldn't be giving to my competition. 

I thought about it for a while and decided it was okay.  First, I doubt any of my competitors are reading my blog.  If they do, I hope it's during the day when I'm calling on their clients (I write these blog entries at night after work).  Second, the benefit I get from giving first to candidates and clients far outweighs any competitive disadvantage I might create.  Third, I am able to communicate my value very clearly through this blog.  Our value proposition "connected, so we can connect you" is true and this blog is full of proof.  Finally, I hope may people learn from this blog because it's good networking.  The potential of networking is limitless so there is never any competition in networking.

My point is that in Networking it is always best to give first.  For most people it's intangibles like information, expertise, support, etc. For me it's expertise and experience about networking provided generously, with optimism and with absolutely no fear of loss.

There is, however, competition in business and I think I'll be okay there as well.  Take business lunches for example, if one of my competitors starts today and takes someone to lunch every day for five years, they will have gone to lunch with over 1,250 people.  It would be an excellent effort, but not good enough.  By that time I will have gone on almost 3,000 networking lunches and that'll still keep me 5 years ahead!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Networking Opportunity

This time of the year I hear the same thing over and over again, “Since all hiring has stopped, I’m going to discontinue my search until after the holidays.” The people who say this are correct and at the same time they are very incorrect.  How can this be?

They are correct because the hiring process does slow down.  Hiring managers are out of the office and it’s exceedingly difficult to coordinate schedules.  Also, pressing year-end issues outweigh long-term hiring decisions as top priorities for managers and executives.  In other cases, annual budgets have run out and even if the perfect candidate is found, they can’t make the offer until the New Year so they slow down the process hoping to retain candidates.

At the same time they are absolutely incorrect because they confuse the networking process with the hiring process.  People in transition are really looking for referrals, not interviews.  Our research over the past 6+ years shows that 68% of all successful job opportunities came through referrals.  The top referral sources are “past colleagues, classmates and co-workers” and the people they know.  The holiday season is an absolutely fantastic time to network for referrals because more people come out and everyone is a bit more open and approachable.  Many networking groups have social events where spouses and others are invited which doubles the opportunity to find a good job referral.  Actually it's better than that,  because spouses and significant others have networks of their own which gives job seekers access to diverse groups of people that will know about opportunities in companies, industries and functional areas outside the focused area of the networking group itself.

It’s also a great time to redouble your networking because so many others simply will not show up and it’s great to be center stage.  In January, while those who rested in December are restarting their networking activities, you will be scheduling interviews!

There are however, a few things to remember.  You need to be a bit more subtle during the holidays.  It is definitely no time to charge into a holiday event with your job search top of mind; leave your resume at home and enjoy the event.  When you bring holiday cheer in your heart, the job search networking will take care of itself.  If it was meant to be it will work out.  Simply inquire about the other person, and most likely they will ask about you, offering the chance for you to present your elevator speech.

Yes, I said keep the holiday cheer in your heart.  Every season there is someone who drinks too much "cheer" and makes an ass out of themselves.  Don’t do it!

For those who got this far and are thinking, "I'm not in a job search.”  Just remember, we are all in a job search all the time.  All the advantages and warnings of Holiday Networking apply to all of us.

Like most endeavors it will be the “little things” that nobody sees that makes the impact.