This is the final segment of my three part interview with Mike Dulworth, author of The Connect Effect: Building Strong Personal, Professional, and Virtual Networks. Mike is CEO of Executive Networks, Inc. The powerful premise of Mike’s excellent book is that having a strong network is critical to success for leaders today. In parts one and two we covered these questions:
–What prompted Mike to write the book
–Why he thinks networking is so important today
–What he means by the “Connect Effect”
–What people who are really good at networking do that others don’t
–How to know if you are good at networking and if you have a good network
–Mike’s advice for leaders about using networks to improve their effectiveness
Here in part three I ask Mike about the concept of a personal board of directors and what he sees as the future of networking:
Jim: In the book, you mention the idea of having a personal board of directors, how does that work?
Mike: A PBOD mirrors a company board of directors in its composition and intent. The idea is to select from your network a small number (5-10) of diverse people that you turn to for important advice, counsel, coaching and mentoring. My PBOD includes my father, my best friend, a business colleague, a member of my company’s board, a cousin, my wife, an old boss and my college roommate. The members of your personal board care about you and are willing to help you with difficult personal problems, job and career challenges, etc. and provide sage advice and guidance.
Jim: What do you see when you think about the future of networking?
Mike: I asked this question to the over 30 people I interviewed for the book. They said that networking would become increasingly important in a VUCA world (a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). They said that reciprocity (the quid pro quo of networking) is the key to successful networking (whether face-to-face or virtual). They said that technology (mainly the Web and mobile devices) is going to transform networking in ways that we can’t imagine today. They said that the younger generations are going to change the world and solve many of mankind’s major dilemmas because of the networks they can form and leverage. As the management guru Peter Drucker said, “The leader of the past knew how to tell; the leader of the future knows how to ask.”