Will you lend me £20?


Thoughtful Thursday Series

When I was a student many summers ago, I was approached by an elderly lady at Victoria station in London. She was travelling to visit her son, and someone had pick-pocketed her wallet. Could I lend her £20? I gave her a £20 note along with my address, to which she promised to return the money. That same evening, I proudly told a friend about my good deed and she responded with a stare, which said; “You fool!”. I had been conned and needless to say, I never heard from the crafty old bat again. But she taught me a lesson about the importance of Relationship Depth.

Last Thoughtful Thursday we established that, your network is a series of relationships, built over time, with trust and mutual interest at their core. Relationships vary in depth and evolve with time. Nurture them actively and they will grow stronger. Neglect them and they will wither. Abuse them and you will lose them.

If you want to extend and deepen your network, you must be active and you need to follow a plan. The nature of your relationship with someone determines how you should interact. How well do you know one another? In which capacity did you meet? Which interests or areas of expertise do you share? What value do you bring to the relationship?

Start by segmenting your existing network according to criteria, which will help you define your strategy and action plan. Family and long-time friends – those you can lend 20 quid with a reasonable probability of payback! Close colleagues, who know you well. Industry acquaintances. Education alumni. Inspiring leaders. Emerging talent, you want to support. Etc.

Segment your relationships according to your networking objectives, then tailor your strategy and action plan to each segment. And don’t hand out cash to strangers in train stations.

Networking Strategy and Planning are key elements of our Career Lab program.


Article by Jens, Career Lab Strategist