Friday, December 3, 2010

University of Washington – Alpha Kappa Psi – Moving Forward!

Last night I had the pleasure of talking to a business fraternity at the University of Washington.  What a fun group!  Every time I get on a college campus to teach Networking for Life I think I get more than I give.   These folks were awesome.

The questions were sharp, the audience engaging and atmosphere of being in Seattle was terrific.  Thanks Alpha Kappa Psi!

When you look at the numbers - 45 to 50 thousand students at the University of Washington, roughly 2,000 in the business school and 50 in this business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, you can clearly see that doing more than average is the key to success.   Early today I blogged on a quote from Ben Franklin who coined the phrase “ the sleeping fox gathers no poultry.” These folks were no sleeping foxes!  We even had a little fun and raffled off a door prize using technology from a very cool marketing firm in Dallas called PocketStop.  One of the members walked away a little happier and with a little more green in the pocket. 

It was late on a Thursday evening, the holiday season and exams around the corner, and yet this group of Huskies were in a classroom learning about networking, a career in the technology industry and entrepreneurship.  They are to be commended.  (send your parents a link to this message and they’ll be proud AKP)  A while ago I talked about sometimes the magic is created by just showing up, but it is more than that.  These freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors are going through life with their heads up, looking around and learning how to be exceptional.  Learning networking skills while still in college will propel their careers to magnificent heights.  Start today!

Success is a journey that requires extra ordinary effort – nothing worth doing will come easy in life.  No matter how many tools we develop or how we think “things are changing,” the person in the fight who applies him or herself every day will be the winners of tomorrow. 

I was especially impressed by several of the questions.  The group was insightful and asked about one of our firm’s core values, Servant Leadership.  The greatest leaders throughout time have been givers not takers.  The takers may grab the headline from time to time, but the givers are behind the scenes helping, mentoring and prodding.  A servant in networking wins because he or she thinks about helping and connecting others.  What goes around does eventually come around!

I can’t always explain why, I just know it does.  So, in this challenging economic environment build your network.  As Harvey Mackay says, “dig your well.”  You never know when you might need a drink!

The Sleeping Fox Gathers no Poultry

I didn’t write that headline.

Ben Franklin did.

Get out of that bed and get cracking, he was saying.

Set your alarm for six, not seven.

If you think you do well after a two-martini lunch, see what you do after a two-orange juice breakfast.

Ben Franklin didn’t spend a lot of time snoozing.

Starting at age 13, with no formal education, he accomplished more than any other American since.

“Plow deep while sluggards sleep”, he also said.

So hop out of the sack.

Get up and go.

The fox is wide awake and he’ll grab all the chickens if you snooze.

As you think about your networking, develop a sense of urgency.  Focus on people.  Help them.  Put in the effort!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Goal Setting 101

They say that the first thing you should do when you set a goal is to tell somebody!  “We’ll if I tell them, they might hold me accountable!”


Networking is one of those things that is always at the bottom of the list.  It often comes at inopportune times when we have things we’d rather be doing.  Often, activities are in the evening when we’d rather be home with our families.  Nothing worth while can be achieved without some sacrifice, however, there are things we can do to keep us focused.

1. Define your targets – start small.  Assign values to various activities like proactively contacting an acquaintance or renewing a friendship.  Start with three categories like emailing, meeting and networking and build from there.  Create several categories for yourself that you can “score.”

2. Set a goal – write it down.  Now that you have a point system and some totals, figure out a good target for a week.  Don’t shoot for the moon. You are trying to develop a habit.  They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

3. Tell somebody – anybody.  Find someone who will encourage you and give you a swift kick when needed.  When we know we will be held to an account, the effort is always greater.

This simple method will enable you begin and succeed at Networking for Life.  Every week is a restart.  If you fall down, start over next week.  You are not in a sprint, this is a marathon.  The great thing about creating target activities is that if work is particularly tough one week, you can send out emails and check LinkedIn while watching the Late Show!  Start, develop a habit and then perfect your skill.  What you receive will be far greater than what you give.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The 10 Things to Nurture Networking!

I don’t know why 10 – perhaps it is 12 or 7, but over the next several months, I’ll try to explore 10 areas where you can sharpen the sword and improve your networking ability.  It is always convicting when I review topics like this because as I’m writing, I’m failing.  The key is to wake up tomorrow and try again.

1. Be an encourager – what did you notice about somebody that you can use to send them a note of encouragement.

2. Follow-up – when you get an introduction or lead, follow-up with the person who made that introduction.

3. Interesting read – ideas rule.  When you find something that you know is relevant to others, pass it on.

4. Connections – are you connecting different individuals in your network to one another?  You never know who needs somebody you know.

5. Give thanks – never let a favor go un rewarded, even if it is just a short note.

6. Important dates – remember the important dates in people’s lives.

7. Travel tips – everyone enjoys a travel tip, a cool hotel or a great restaurant.

8. Christmas in July – why stay in touch only during the winter holidays?

9. Messages – answer them promptly! 

10. Quick notes – paper is not dead yet!  Write a short note.

This is a quick list that we will explore together.  If you are serious about networking then you need to be serious about having a plan to stay in touch and nurture your network.  Nurture marketing is a term that has been used to describe the process of staying in touch without selling.  I’d like to say this top 10 will help you in Nurture Networking.  Good luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top Jobs in 2010 Survey

At the end of the day, we are all looking for work!  If we are employed, we are looking for an opportunity to sell or deliver our goods and services.  If we are unemployed, we are looking for a paycheck.  I've heard people say that money is not the most important thing in the world.  That was probably spoken by the guy with a job.  Money might not be the most important thing in the world, but when you need it, it is right up there with oxygen!

Every year puts out a survey that evaluates the top 200 jobs in the U.S.  If you are engaged in changing careers, looking for a job or are just entering college deciding your major, a technical proficiency is a must.  The author of the study, Andrew Strieber, summarizes the top job for 2010.

“Moving down the list, math and science-related professions continue to rule, with Software Engineer ranking as the second-best job for 2010. Involving the design and maintenance of software and hardware systems, the job rates well across all categories, finishing 5th for work environment and inside the top 30 for stress, income and physical demands.  But what truly helps Software Engineer stand out from other career choices is its hiring outlook.  With low unemployment compared to the national average and projected job growth of nearly 45% through 2016, Software Engineer currently has the best hiring outlook of any available job in 2010.”

They use a very sophisticated analytical process that looks at the following dimensions:

Environment – combination of physical and emotional factors.

Income – a derivative of mid-level salary range and long term salary potential through 2016.

Hiring Outlook – a combination of three factors to determine the outlook for future jobs – employment growth, income growth and unemployment.

Physical Demands – evaluation of how physically demanding a particular job is.

Stress – includes 23 different dimensions of tasks or conditions that evoke emotional stress.

We have been talking about the great value of a degree in MIS or Computer Science for years.  If you are looking for a great career, the best place to start is acquiring technical skills, but that’s a blog for another day.

For now, check out the survey from the links below. Jobs Survey

Wall Street Journal Jobs Ranking

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is the Value of Social Capital?

We’ve all heard about physical capital, it is on your balance sheet.  Human capital is found in they way your people are organized and deployed.  Intellectual capital is found in the ideas born through innovation and deployed in new ways.  But what about social capital?

Networking for Life was founded on the principles of developing and harvesting value in a network.  The challenge is unleashing the value of that network in terms of social capital.  We’d all agree that our networks have extrinsic and intrinsic value and that often, the best result is not an economic one.  Still, we need to protect those networks because they have created value for us personally.  Thus, social capital.

When I give you a lead or introduce you to somebody in my network, part of me goes with you.  The most valuable part – my reputation.  But how did that reputation become valuable?  I would contend that the value of your social capital is directly proportional to work you have done for others.  The “schmooze” will only get you so far but the value you have created for others is the basis for your social capital.

The “moment of value” occurs when two individuals or organizations exchange something of value between them.  A notion of trust is exchanged.  When I spend a life time in a market – following through on what I say I’m going to do –  I create value in my personal brand.  That brand is translates into social capital.  Social capital is monetized when those relationships create value for others.  And, as we we’ve talked before, if you create value for others, your social capital increases!

The concept of social capital is why integrity and servant leadership are so important in Networking for Life.  You’ve heard it said “it takes a life time to develop a reputation, and only seconds to destroy it.” It’s true.  Be the one who is consistently increasing his or her social capital.  You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Show Up!

I know you are busy.  I know there is not enough time in the day.  I know it is often hard.  But what about your dreams?  Are they big enough?

When I talk to business development individuals and active networkers, the theme is consistent – “80% of what I do is a waste of time.”  In other words, the activity cannot always be tied to a specific accomplishment.  We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule, but imagine if you only attended the “right” events or chased the “right” deals.  Would your success rate go up?  Of course it would.  Is that possible?  Of course not.

While we can get better through experience in picking the “best” activities, we never know.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had something on my calendar before or after work and I get that ugh! feeling.  Then, the voices start. “You can miss this time, it won’t hurt anything.”

My experience is that when that voice starts talking, I start walking because in my life, every time I show up, something good happens.  I’m looking for it.  It may be an idea.  It may be a contact I’ve been wanting to meet.  It may be an old friend that I haven’t seen in a while.  It may be somebody who needs my help.

On my campus visits I try to stay around afterwards and meet students one on one for as long as they line up and for as long as I can stand.  I’m amazed at how many tell me “I came along because my friend brought me but I really got a lot out of your talk.”  

As teachers and speakers, we are in the seed sowing business.  Somebody else will have to water the ground and tend the crop.  Make no mistake, seed planting happens every time two gather to exchange ideas.  The largest trees and the greatest crops, all start with a seed.  Sometimes you just have to show up to get them!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Get in the Game!

I love football!  I miss it when it is not in season and I look forward to it every year.  There is something about the commitment to excellence, the requirement of teamwork and the law of inches that all combine to make for great memories. 

At the high school level, a commitment to being the best starts long before spring or fall practice.  It starts in the weight room, far from the glitz and glamour.  Far from the bright lights and the touchdowns.  You have to pump the iron, run the sprints and prepare yourself to win.  Where there is no preparation, there can be no victory.

When I wrestled in High School, I remember a quote that went something like this.  “Remember, when you are not working, there is someone else who is, and when you meet him, he will beat you.”  It still sends chills up my spine when I read it because in the game of life, preparedness is the mother skill.  Many a motivational speaker has said “where opportunity and preparedness meet, victory is close behind.”

In networking, you have to get in the game.  You have to practice and rehearse far from the bright lights and the victory that follows.  If you don’t prepare, you will not succeed.  The great football coach Vince Lombardi use to say “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”  Now that’s a great word!

In Paris, France – April 23rd, 1910 President Theodore Roosevelt gave his famous “The Man In The Arena Speech.”  I think he was talking about “getting in the game.”

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ASM at BYU – The Marriott School of Management – On a Roll!

One Hundred and Forty strong attended Tuesday evening’s Networking for Life presentation at the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. The event was sponsored by the Association of Systems Management (ASM).

What a group! In an environment where many schools are straying from hard core business and technology development, the Marriott School is training future leaders in core business practices steeped in the coolest technology. These leaders understand that no matter what they choose to do in their careers, having “hands on” technology experience is critical.

  • In April, 2010, a BYU team won a mobile development competition for creating Hippo Blast at the second annual Omniture iPhone App Competition.
  • In May of 2010, BYU won the APEX Global Business IT Case Challenge in Singapore by beating out 24 other global competitors.
  • In May of 2010, a team of Masters students won first-place and the “audience choice” award for NoteSync, a computer program for synchronizing to-dos and other notes with Google Docs.

On a roll indeed! Information Technology no longer runs the business, it is the business. The media would have you believe that the best software development jobs are going overseas. Not a chance! Innovation is driving both hardware and software platforms to the point where these students will solve “unknown and unmet” business problems during their careers. The future is ripe for business and technology!

Get involved, show up, plug in. Sometimes Networking for Life is about showing up and leaving energized and focused on the future.

Great Job ASM!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take that First Small Step

Sometimes it’s the “getting started” that is tough.  Health clubs sign up lots of folks around “resolution time.”  I think mostly we psyche ourselves out.  We re-arrange the desk before making that important call.  We put “it” off.  We rationalize that we just don’t have the personality for it – in fact, we hate it!  Stephen Covey said it best – don’t trade the urgent for the important.  They say that people don’t change until the pain to stay the same is greater than the pain to change.  Find a reason to change!  Just start networking one small step at a time.  Be a giver and a connector, not a crowd worker!  It is your future.  Get involved.  Track down a friend.  Join LinkedIn.  Update LinkedIn.  Post on Facebook.  Then, follow-up and schedule a face to face meeting with somebody.  People want to help, but you have to ask!

Start today!

A reprint from United Technologies as Published in the Wall Street Journal, 1984.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.

You fell down the first time you tried to walk.

You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?

Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MISA at The University of Texas ROCKS!

Monday evening I had the honor to speak to a great group of students at MISA – the Management Information Systems Association at the University of Texas at Austin.  These guys are serious about Networking for Life!  The room was packed!

These young men and women understand that networking is more than just meeting people.  I heard from their Community Service Chairman, their Academic Chairman, their Social Chairman and others.  They are intent in doing well in college, having fun and giving back to the community.  Their parents would be proud! 

When it comes to finding a job the data is overwhelming.

  • “Networking has proven to be two to three times more productive than all other employment sources combined, accounting for an estimated 64 to 75% of all jobs landed.”  - Richard Beatty in his book Job Search Networking.
  • Almost two out of every three jobs (63.4%) were found via networking. – U.S. Department of Labor study that included 10.4 million job seekers.  Jobs posted accounted for filling 14% of job openings, search followed at 12%, while cold calls netted jobs for only 10.5% of job seekers.
  • Two similar studies by Harvard University professor and sociologist Mark Granovetter and the other by Brandywine Consulting Group showed that networking accounts for job landings in 74.5% and 68% of cases, respectively.

Organizations like MISA exist on campus’s across the U.S. and serve as a place for social gathering, networking, and act like a safety net to accelerate learning.  If you are a student, get involved.  If you are an adult, find your leaking ship.  If you are interested in MIS, get MISA going at your campus! You’ll be glad you did.

Things are rockin in MIS at The University of Texas

Monday, August 30, 2010

College Bound? Network!

Last week U.S. News and World Report’s September 2010 issue came out ranking the country’s best Colleges and Universities.  For those who have students who are moving in that direction, I’d encourage you to buy a copy and leave it on the kitchen table!

A college education is still worth it!  Don’t let your kids tell you about Bill Gates, who dropped out of school.  After all, it was his network at Harvard that eventually came with him to build Microsoft.  The evidence shows that college grads are making more money and those with advanced degrees make even more.  It is getting more expensive to go though, and the game of getting into schools is more complex not only from an admissions perspective, but from a financing perspective as well.  Get on it early.  The articles share several resources for funding an education that did not exist 5 years ago.  Minimize the debt you use to finish school.  Schools are committed to attracting a diverse set of students so don’t fear the tuition until you understand the average discounts available as outlined in the magazine.  The recession has hit many state schools hard, so ask a lot of questions about the number of students in the classroom and the use of student teachers.

Networking will enable you to find alumni, understand the quality of a program, or meet key folks in the admissions or finance office in order to get the best possible advice.  It will also give you an inside line if you meet a department chair or somebody influential.  Separate yourself from the crowd!  While the article made several references to the importance of a University beyond the books, it only scratched the surface of the importance of a school’s network.  First, it is likely that you will graduate and live in some proximity to your University so pick wisely.  Look at the GDP in the area and growth prospects.  Your network won’t serve you as well if you have move across the country to get a job.  Second, network in college…with a vengeance!  If you are at a top University, you are surrounded by talent.  Establish those relationships and friendships early and they won’t be strangers in 20 years!

Networking for Life.  As one of my students once said “ start today and don’t ever stop.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Do CEO’s Think About?

One of the areas you need to consider when you are networking is a concept that Dale Carnegie discusses in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the notion that you can make friends by becoming interested in other people.  From a networking perspective, focusing on other’s first, is job number one.  If you are interested in helping them with their challenges, you will succeed. 

I follow several newsletters and blogs and today I’d like to highlight Paul DiModica’s words around the metrics that CEO’s follow.  There are the things that “keep them up at night” and if you do some planning before a meeting, your chances of connecting to them are increased substantially.  From a financial perspective they think about:

Financial Liquidity

Profits and Profit Margin


Borrowing Capacity

Corporate Asset Usage

Employees Performance

By linking to Value Forward Selling you can read in more detail, how these metrics affect the ability of a corporation to thrive.  When somebody is minding the store, these are the metrics they look for!

Focus on helping them grow the top line, improve their margins, increase their net profit or lower their risk and you will have a great conversation and a connection for life!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Find a Leaking Ship

Where do I start?  Many of us sign up for the typical meet and greet at our local Chamber, technology forum or monthly “get together.”  While these organizations are important tools for connecting with people, often, the best way to start is to “find a leaking ship.”

What does that mean?  As a networker, the first thing you have to realize is that you have special gifts.  Others need what you have to offer.  Challenges abound.  Last night I received an email from an employee who was asking for others to assist the HERO Mentor Program for college-bound Juniors and Seniors.  The mentors guide and coach students through the college application process, which culminates with a College Signing Day. Wow!

In 1984, United Technologies published a series of topics in the Wall Street Journal.  I found them so inspiring that I wrote the Chairman of the Board and asked for a copy.  They sent me one!  Here is the message for:

Find a Leaking Ship

Many a foundering ship could be rescued by your ideas and energy.

A failing business, a scout troop, a church choir, a public school or a city council.

Plenty of struggling organizations are salvageable if they get the right kind of help.

Remember: America went from its greatest naval loss (Pearl Harbor) to its greatest naval victory (Midway) in just six months.

So plug up the leaks, trim the sails and get going.

Your effort can make a difference.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Speaker’s Tour – College Series Kicks off at University of Texas, August 30th

Speaker’s Tour Overview

The “Speaker’s Tour – College Series” is focused on giving back to college students through teaching and inspiring them to embrace Networking for Life to advance their personal and professional lives. Helping students and aspiring entrepreneurs expand their personal brands through networking, blogging and leveraging social media tools like LinkedIn will assist them in securing the jobs they desire and connecting with others for life.

Some quotes from a few who have attended the lecture:

“I liked how the lecture moved beyond “how business professionals meet” to connecting people to a mechanic, a doctor, a contractor, etc. It makes networking seem much easier and more applicable to a student who is just starting to think about the future.” Joshua Lyman – Brigham Young University

“Networks grow exponentially, the more you network the easier it gets. This was good motivation to start networking now and never stop.” Golf Sinteppadon – University of Washington

John co-founded Pariveda Solutions in 2003 with the desire to build a different kind of technology consultancy in response to the growing shortage of technical talent in the U.S. Building a multi-million dollar national consultancy without a direct sales force provides John with a unique perspective on how to build a business leveraging relationships and networking. The company has grown from zero to almost 200 employees in seven years using these techniques and you can have a front row seat to hear how his experiences can help you.

Speaker Background

John graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.B.A. in Finance and a B.A. in Economics. Later, he completed an M.B.A. at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University with a concentration in Management Information Systems. John has not only built a successful company, he has developed a proprietary system (SONAR) that the company uses to track market “touch points” in order to measure networking effectiveness and teach the concepts of Networking for Life to all employees.

To learn more about Networking for Life please visit:

Sponsored by Pariveda Solutions, Inc.

Pariveda Solutions has been counted as one of the fastest growing companies in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in the Dallas One Hundred, which is comprised of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the DFW Metroplex. Pariveda was recently named to the Dallas Morning New’s “Best Places to Work” in 2009 and ranked ninth overall and third among small companies. The Dallas Business Journal named Pariveda as a “Best Place to Work” in 2008 and 2009 as well. In 2008, Pariveda was named as one of Consulting Magazine’s 7 “Small Jewels.” Recently, they continued their place in the “Inc. 5000” as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. Launched and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Pariveda Solutions has additional offices located in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Pariveda Solutions, an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company, is 100% employee-owned. They assist organizations in solving complex business problems through the use of process and technology. Networking for Life has enabled Pariveda’s growth as 93% of their business comes from referral and repeat customers.

To learn more about Pariveda Solutions please visit:

Networking is about giving to others

A thought, an idea, an inspiration, a solution to a problem.  At the core of networking is the idea that if I want to be a connector of people then, I have to give myself away.  I have to be willing to connect people together.  I have to be an attractor of people.

If you set out on the journey of networking to share with others and genuinely help them, your rewards will be great. 

I received this movie clip today from a friend that was inspired by a consultant who was hired to help a grocery store become more customer service focused.  For all of us in the services business, taking care of clients is often a matter of the heart.  We can make a difference beyond the dollars and cents.  When you enter through this door, the possibilities created by networking are unlimited.

Watch this great story about Johnny the Bagger.

Just click here to watch.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Networking for Life Speaker’s Tour

For years I’ve been teaching Networking for Life to our company, Pariveda Solutions, in our boot camp for all new employees.  Through various networking groups, I’ve been asked to speak and teach on this topics to various professional organizations.  I’ve also been privileged to be actively involved in campus recruiting and working with young people graduating from college.

What amazes me is how many people don’t understand the exponential effects of networking; or, they understand that networking is important, but they don’t know how to go about it.  While I love speaking to business executives, my passion is working with students.  I was never exposed to networking in college, there are no classes that teach networking; and yet, connecting to people is one of the most important things we do.

The “Speaker’s Tour” is an on-going effort to speak at college campuses around the country and share networking and entrepreneurship concepts and ideas.  See you at a campus soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why another site on Networking?

As I have spoken around the country in various venues, it seems that people either have a head or a heart issue when it comes to networking. If a heart issue, they understand that it is important but tend to put it off as a business related item. If a head issue, it is possible that they don't know how, or have not been exposed to the concept or seen it work in their lives.

The intent of this blog is offer my experience and to bring out both the why's(heart) and the how's(head) to encourage young people to start networking early in life. There are many reasons for networking as we will begin to explore, however, the most important thing is getting started!

You will be exactly where you are one year from now except for the books you read and the people you meet. Begin your networking for life!

Stay tuned!