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The Global Impact Feature - Andy Lopata

1. What I stand for?

In terms of what I stand for, I suppose the simplest response is 'strong relationships'.

I teach networking strategy which, at its core, is the building and leveraging of powerful relationships.

Too many people focus on numbers and meaningless connections when it comes to networking.

They think networking is all about events and social sites and forget the hard work that goes into building deep connections. I stand for those relationships. For bonds formed on strong levels of trust, integrity and authenticity.

For the power those relationships offer to help individuals solve challenges, grow their careers and impact on others.

And for the power those relationships offer businesses to help them make a positive difference on their staff, to their bottom line and in the world.

2. What do I believe that many others disagree on?

I don't know anything to be true that others disagree on! I have some very strong opinions, you can be sure of that but it would be arrogant of me to see them as the truth.

One area in which I fundamentally disagree with many people is when and why you connect with people on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

This goes back to my previous answer, I don't subscribe to the 'LION' open networking approach to LinkedIn and I think it has spawned some terrible behaviour from some people, particularly those who don't really understand the nuances of networking.

Simply focusing on a strategy of building a broad network ignores the depth of that network and leaves it vulnerable.

Developing networks en masse mean that finding true connections can be like finding a needle in a haystack and just opens you up to mass spamming and worse.

Your connections benefit from association with you when they approach other people in your network yet so many people give away that social currency so cheaply - for an exchange of clicks.

I would rather have a narrower network made up of deep and strong connections than recreate Yellow Pages on LinkedIn.

But that is not the truth, it's just my opinion!

3. How can business networking be more effective?

Business networking can be more effective if approached strategically. It's that obvious and that simple but sadly not that common.

The most common reason for attending a networking event or joining a social networking site is because we have been invited.

That's not strategic thinking.

We have such a rich choice of networking opportunities these days, what are the odds that the one you are invited to is the one that's right for you? ??Understand what your biggest objectives and challenges in your business and/or your career are right now and how other people can help you.

Then turn to your existing network first and ask yourself who you know who might be able to help you. THEN look to social networking sites and events and ask what role they will play in helping you achieve your goal.

What do you need to commit to?

What do you need and expect from others and why would they do it?

I have seen so many people stumble around in the dark wasting networking opportunities because they haven't taken the time to work out their objectives and develop a strategy for developing and leveraging strong relationships.

My Personal Mindset Strategy

Over the last two decades in business, I would say that the following mindsets have helped me to survive many bumps and bruises along the way:

  1. A clear focus. I'm not one for writing down goals but ask me for my vision for my business in the next year, five years and beyond and I can tell you. I know what I am looking to achieve and believe I understand what needs to be done to get there.

  2. An ability to go with the flow. Just because I know where I'm going, doesn't mean sticking to the same route. Business doesn't work like that. Adapting to threats and opportunities and following the flow while still keeping an eye on the long-term focus has been key.

  3. Having fun. We spend most of our life at work so it has to be fun. I don't want to spend time on tasks I find to be a burden. Yes, we all have elements of our work that we don't enjoy but we can assess how necessary they are and also how important it is that WE do them personally.

  4. Dust yourself off and move forward. We have had our fair share of challenges and have been close to losing the business twice. We've had our 'Hippo Moments' where we allow ourselves to wallow briefly but then 'Shut Up and Move On' (if you have read Paul McGee's SUMO, you understand that!). ?No Plan B has served me pretty well, we've had to make things work.

  5. It doesn't mean anything. A couple of years ago I participated in a programme that many of you (certainly Baiju) may know. Nothing has had a stronger impact on my personal mindset than going through the stages of the Landmark Programme and, above all, the understanding that everything is meaningless - until we apply our own meaning to it. That has been so valuable both personally and professionally.

Baiju Solanki

Baiju Solanki

Founder & CEO EnSpirit Global

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