Developing a fine wine requires many years of planning and work. First a vintner to identify a piece of land that will allow the grape vines to flourish. After acquiring the plot that best fits the optimal growth conditions for the desired grape, the vintner plants the vines and then must wait for three to four years to get the harvest they need to create their chosen variety of wine. Another one to five years go by before the wine is available for consumption. All told, the vintner invests countless hours and cash over a prolonged period to obtain her desired results.
Just as our vintner above understands the need for applying resources, i.e., time and money, to gain the desired outcome, so to do business leaders need to understand the need to invest over a long period of time to reap the benefits of valuable business relationships. In a business climate of measuring return-on-investment, leaders will frequently utilize an evaluation period that is far too short in this situation. Specifically, a company leader will attend one or two events of an organization, not interact with many of the organization’s members and then decline to participate in future events as they don’t see the value in the meetings. Clearly the person in this example didn’t invest the time to understand the organization’s goals or why others were participating in the gathering. Business leaders feel much more comfortable and valuable spending time in their business than in relating to peers within a professional organization and they miss the opportunity to nurture precious connections.
What are your goals and needs to connect?
- If you are looking for more local visibility and would like to meet local business and government leaders, then review a chamber of commerce.
- If your job is sales oriented, then look for sales networking groups (several exist).
- If you have questions about operations or trends in your industry, join a trade group.
- If you would like to give back to your community with other like-minded leaders, many charitable organizations for business professionals exist.
In our experience we have seen a multitude of successful interactions as a result of participation in business organizations. Everything from new banking relationships to joint ventures to corporate mergers have been facilitated by leaders getting involved and fostering new connections. The common denominators in these relationships have been in patience and the investment of time.
Don’t take the time, make the time! Just as developing a fine wine requires considerable time, your return will be worth the investment.