A strategic network is a powerful tool to boost your career and ignite business growth. Professional colleagues, working together, can create synergies and opportunities far beyond the capabilities of any one individual. Power partners can make introductions, open doors, lend expertise and offer critical insights. Business is a team sport. No one can be an expert in everything. A powerful network draws upon the strengths of all for the benefit of all.

Building Your Strategic Network

A strategic network doesn’t emerge in a vacuum. It takes reflection and focused activity to build a dynamic and effective team. Consider the following four basic steps.

First, take inventory. Know yourself. Understand what you need and what you can offer.

  • Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Who do you need to complement your skill set?
  • What strengths do you have that can help another?
  • Beyond skills, what personal qualities fit your style?

Second, determine the qualities you are seeking in a power partner. Some factors may include:

  • Your skills are mutually beneficial.
  • There are synergies between your areas of expertise.
  • You share a commitment to integrity.
  • You respect each other personally and professionally.
  • You share a willingness to help each other.
  • You are experts in your fields.

Third, identify individuals and explore possibilities.

  • Consider acquaintances who fit your criteria, who you can help and who can in turn help you. As you network, be attuned to new contacts who may also be good strategic network partners.
  • Meet with them to determine if you share complimentary skills and have compatible personalities and values.
  • Explore possibilities to meet regularly and share ideas.
  • Maintain the relationship through ongoing communication. Strive for balance, where neither of you is overly demanding or dependent.

Fourth, develop the relationship.

  • Ask about their back-stories. They may have significant experience in a totally unrelated field, which may be both interesting and useful to know.
  • Explore hobbies and interests. You may find you share a love of dogs, or an interest in professional wrestling. Common interests can lead to great conversations, while different interests can lead to enriching discussions.
  • Keep them in mind. When you meet someone who could be a good contact for a power partner, make an introduction. Forward articles you think are relevant. Share events or groups that could be beneficial to them.

The Payoff:

A strategic network can generate leads and contacts, assist in serving your clients, and help you avoid serious errors. Supporting others in their business strengthens your professional position and solidifies your professional relationships. Work strategically. Develop your power network and develop the synergies to empower your career and boost your business.

Read more: 4 Powerful Ways for Strong Network Building