Nurturing your black book network
Years ago, I became aware of an individual – a mid-level executive – who joined or was recruited (dependent on your angle) because of their Black Book contacts. Somehow, someone believed them. The situation that resulted is somewhat obvious. It all fell apart and turned nasty. And for everyone involved.
I’ve since advised against any business to recruit anyone, under any circumstances, based on industry contacts. It simply never works out – for the candidate for the employer in the long run. Maybe it does in the interim – but that is the issue – somebody is being taken advantage of, and to me, that is not acceptable.
The reason I thought of this, and am writing this, is that I received a random email in the last few days from someone within my own network – who sent me a Mailchimp email asking for referrals.
Using your black book for business development
Incredible – the request was in essence, that “we’re doing this, so can you do that – not be involved in it, but just do”. Not help, do. This was not about a favour, reciprocity or otherwise – I was being bypassed for my own network. This was just trying to use their network, of which I am a part. So I am using this to remind on the importance of nurturing your own network, as I do, treating it with respect, care and, well, love.
I counsel agency management teams and CEOs to review how they interact with their own networks so as to get the best out of what is a two-way relationship. This inevitably requires grading – I suggest three groups – with a focus on your alpha-network, those whom are gold black book contacts and are to be cherished (and I’m not talking friends here) as part of business development.
Admittedly there is a lot more to this, and my work involves working with teams to leverage existing relationships and contacts, though this piece should act as a timely reminder to consider how you manage your own black book.
Rod Geoghegan works with Marketing Services Agencies, Tech Start-ups and Professional Services Firms to plan and deliver growth.
He is Founding Partner at Metropolis Partners