Following is a Part I of an interview I had the pleasure of conducting with one of our Networlding licensees, Alonzo Russell of Alonzo Russell and Associate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed hearing Alonzo’s insights around building trusting relationship networks and how to leverage those networks for mutual gain,
1. What do you think makes a good networker? I think a good networker is made by someone who understands the true concept of what networking should be which is that it is not a superficial relationship. Networking needs to have intention. You have to understand who you are going to make a connection with, how you are going to benefit them and how you will benefit from them as well.
2. How do you network today most often (internally in your organization or externally, online, etc)? Please share all that apply. I do a lot online but it all starts with face-to-face. From a Networlding standpoint I focus on people who have similar and complimentary values. A few of my close contacts are not online but we do have good relationships and they have good relationships with the type of people I want to know as well.
3. Do you use networking to grow community and leadership inside and outside of your company? If so, how? I do. In the local community, when I had made the decision to open in Gilbert, I made it my goal to find and make connections with the community leaders. I made it my focus to know these people. When we look at actually building relationships it is, again, important to focus on what you want to accomplish. I am philanthropically involved on a number of causes. It helps the causes, it helps those who support the causes, and it helps me. I have developed many key relationships with the local community leaders by being focused and helping them with what they are trying to accomplish.
4. How often do you use networks in your daily life? Everyday. Since part of my goal as the head of the company is to develop those relationships it is imperative that I network. I get online as much as I can—on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I do it everyday on an ongoing basis. I also keep track of who is doing what within my network and make sure they know I am helping them in whatever way I can.
5. In this “Linked-In, Linked Up” world what do you think will be the nature of networking in the next couple of years? In other words, how do you see networks evolving? I see that all the different online mediums can become an oversaturation. I think we are going to have to step back and take these relationships to a more personal level. I think there will be new things coming out but it still comes down to how much you contribute to the relationship, and you really can’t do much when you are trying to get hundreds of contacts via the online mediums.
6. Please share one of your best networking stories. When I started out here in the community one of the first relationships I made was with the president of the chamber of commerce. My relationship has grown through her—the connections with the mayor, the heads of the local hospitals, and heads of several of the large local corporations. When I had originally joined the chamber it was with that intent, with that purpose in mind. I told her that when I met her. She is in the process of getting remarried and I am not going to the wedding as she is getting married in Ireland but I was invited to the reception at her home here, of which I am very honored and feel that we have a great mutually beneficial relationship.
Stay tuned for Part II – It gets better! What questions do you have for Alonzo?