Monday, June 19, 2006

Never Eat Alone

Board meetings most of the day.

I read a great book on the way to Fremont, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz. I highly recommend it. Although I network a lot, it was an inspirational refresher. It is about networking (the people kind, not the computer kind – although I am an advocate of both).

As a time management person, I often choose to eat alone. And I choose fast restaurants (not fast food) when I do eat with others. Ferrazzi understands good time use. He often eats with groups of people.

Never Eat Alone speaks of the value of networking and has a number of ideas on how to network. 3 take aways. Always network first by seeing what value you can add to the person rather than looking at it the other way around. Second, although the book did not state this explicitly, networking is common courtesy and actually enjoyable. It is not a distasteful task. Third, nurture your network. Figure out ways to add value and keep in touch. I suppose in some way, my blog does this.

I also realize how extensive my network is. It is not about the 3000+ contacts I have in Outlook, it is about the people I really know and the people that know me (often more people know me – position, speaking engagements, articles and blogs tend to do that). I am charmed to know a lot of highly influential people.

I have a very good relationships with CEOs and Presidents of many companies as a result of my years in YPO. Other organizations like top 40 under 40 and other awards also helps build a peer group. I, of course, have a very deep rolodex in the computer industry (27 years will do that). I have many deep contacts in Guelph and Kitchener Waterloo since I have been in business in that area for years. I have numerous senior contacts of influential people from my board positions on companies like RIM. My years of running a public company gave me many contacts on Bay Street and Wall Street. Equally important as the people of perceived high influence that I know, I have lots of friends, all of whom are in my network, from just being alive and involved in things.

I loved one quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him"

Even though my network is broad, I am inspired to nurture it, build it and organize it more.

Now off to a board dinner. Hopefully they won't make me eat alone.


At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jim

Great blog! I'm also a big fan of Keith's, I actually just did an interview with him over on my site (at this link: ).

Ironically, your name came up at lunch today. A local KW CEO mentioned your blog to me as one of the few local blogs worth reading (humbly, mine was another). Maybe we should get together one day and Eat Lunch Together?

Be Great


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