In my previous “Lone Ranger” post we talked about the need to network with many other people instead of stubbornly trying to go it alone. So now remember that…
Some of the people you network with are going to charge you a fee for their services. Just like you, they have to earn a living! So, don’t begrudge them those charges. Rather, put them in perspective. For example, just ask yourself …
How much money will their advice help me MAKE? How much money will their counsel help me SAVE? OR how many costly mistakes will I be able to AVOID because I took their advice? If your answers are in the positive column then consider their charges your “tuition payments” for your Executive MBA!
Other people will network with you simply for the benefits they receive from you in exchange. But, all of these connections are intended to help you expand your professional business knowledge and to shorten the time it takes you to achieve your professional goals. It all seems so logical doesn’t it?
Here’s the bottleneck. (And as usual, it’s at the top of the bottle!) Many of us struggle to get beyond our “Lone Ranger” mindset and open ourselves up to input from other people — people who care about us and can have a positive impact on our businesses.
After all, we’ve had a steady parade of “Lone Ranger” role models over the years who we’ve watched solve complex problems single-handedly: Dirty Harry, Rambo, MacGyver, even James Bond. We tell ourselves, “These guys could figure it out on their own. Why can’t I?” Well, the reason is that life is not a TV western or an action movie, we are not action heroes, and the “Lone Ranger” executive model does not work in today’s business environment.
Sometimes we use the excuse that we just don’t have the time to do all this networking: “I’ve got work to do.” Well, you know what? We all have the same number of hours in the day. It’s just where we choose to invest those hours.
When you consider the frantic pace of today’s business world, and the short time period we actually have to build our companies, it is simply too expensive to learn ALL our business lessons on the job. OJT (On-the-Job Training) is a long class, and Past Experience is a VERY expensive and demanding teacher. Successful business owners have learned to rely on input from trusted partners to help them grow.
Remember this: networking with outside experts isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. As executives, we need to make sure the greatest lesson we learned from The Lone Ranger was the opening ten measures of the William Tell Overture, and not how to go-it-alone. So, get busy building and/or expanding your network of business experts, and let the “Lone Ranger” ride off ALONE into the sunset.