Your team needs your contacts
Have you ever heard the old adage about your are only as strong as the weakest link in your chain? There is truth to this in networking as well.
Many people seem to think that networking is a job for sales and top management. It is simply okay for your operations, accounting and other workers to know only who they need to know. If you want to take your company to the next level I would clear my mind of such thoughts.
Though it is impossible for any person to know every contact of another person it is, however, profitable for them to know everyone who can make a bearing on the company’s success. This helps with communication flow all around. What I recommend is that your company make lists:
- Important Client Contacts
- Important Vendor / Supplier Contacts
- Important Partner / Agent Contacts
Nowadays there are many CRM programs, such as Salesforce, that can help with this. At my company we use Podio and it keeps everyone on the same page. Podio is reasonably priced and easy to work with. For instance, you make a tagging system in your e-mail client then export it to a CSV or Exel file for manual sharing.
Many people really balk at this idea of letting our co-workers have all of the important contacts. They worry that this is something that unscrupulous people will use in bad ways, such as passing this information to competitors or starting their own competing business with your contacts. Yes, this is always a risk. But when I think about it I’d consider some points of the flip side before discounting it:
- Is this information you want to protect readily available to others anyway? Is it in the public domain?;
- What opportunities are you already missing out on for not sharing?; and
- Are the positives and gains (increased operational and sales efficiency, better communication, etc.) big enough offsets for the risk?
Again, for my business we work better by sharing. We don’t step on one another’s feet, or at least we do it less often. We find opportunities we wouldn’t already have known about. Knowledge is light and we don’t want to walk in the dark when we don’t have to.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.