Here is the opening of a very important post for our times:
We think about networking as a very modern notion, with our accumulation of virtual “friends,” “followers,” and people-who-might-be-useful-to-us-someday. To me, it is just an extension of what my people, my family have been doing since 70 AD — making critical connections that enable both our survival. The tools may have changed, but our reliance on the network has not. In fact, without the network, I literally wouldn’t be alive.
My mother and grandparents fled the Nazis in Eastern Europe, bribing the American Consulate to make quotas. Virtually all members of my family, over sixty people of all ages, were killed at Auschwitz. The few family members who escaped — a cousin sent to London to live with relatives, an uncle who fled to Israel (then Palestine), another who survived work camps in Budapest, another who escaped barefoot running through forests and ended up in Australia, another who fought in the French Resistance, and another who was liberated at Auschwitz in 1945 — formed a worldwide network that was requisite for survival.
Because of my background, I’m hardwired to network. This reliance on and ability to network has been pivotal throughout my life and my career. Adding to John Hagel and John Seely Brown’s sage advice, I have three suggestions for those looking to develop or improve their network: 1) use new communication tools to your advantage; 2) let the network be a resource for discovery and growth; and 3) treat your network well.