By: John Tooher
As the former leader of a three thousand strong workforce, I know how hard it is to find time to do anything beyond managing and leading the business. In some ways it’s overwhelming to be constantly under time pressure, in other ways it’s comforting to be surrounded by “your” people.
The problem with being internally focused is that eventually you only know what you and your team know. While you and every member of your team bring previous experience and knowledge to the table, unless they are being continuously fed by new streams of knowledge and experience things will become stale and you and your business become vulnerable.
How do you bring new knowledge and experience to the table without having to hire more and more people and probably fire the same number of people to pay for them?
It’s quite simple!
You and your people must make the time to get out and network. It has to be part of your and your team’s responsibilities. You as CEO need to get out the most and very importantly you mustn’t fall for the trap that most CEOs do and join a CEO Think Tank group. You need to be talking to a range of CXOs.
It’s much more rewarding for you to meet with CIOs, CFO,s, COOs and so on. You need to hear from experienced experts in their field about how they are tackling challenges in their area of responsibility. I would also encourage you to meet people from all walks of life; you’d be surprised what you can learn and use in your business. Armed with new information you can go back and talk with your people in a more informed way. You can ask better questions and re-examine preconceptions or long-held assumptions.
This approach ensures that you are at least aware of what is state of the art in many diverse fields of business and you may even know more about people and society in general. New ideas will come to mind more readily and most of all you will be living a better more productive life.
Try networking. It’s one of the great ways to learn and appreciate our amazing world.