Power of the (Professional) Network

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The Power of the 
(Professional) Network
A Word from Doug - February 2018
What's the value of your professional network?
As our team pushes toward our growth goals for 2018, I have been thinking about the number and quality of relationships that I've managed to accumulate in the recent years.  It is frequently written that one of the most valuable assets a business leader can build and nurture is a quality network of professionals.  Whether customers, peers, vendors, mentors, partners, friends or family, a large and wide network can support massive two-way influence and the achievement of ambitious goals.
But, it's not simply a matter of collecting piles of business cards or shaking a lot of hands at so-called "networking events".  A true professional network is only as valuable as the sincerity and strength of each node in the web.  Also incredibly important is the variety in one's circle.  In Social Networks: The Value of Variety published by the American Sociological Association (2003), Bonnie Erickson asserts that the diversity of a person's network correlates to better health, higher wealth, less depression, superior employment and greater happiness.
Like major highway interchanges, there are also critical human junctions in the network I call gateway nodes.  Author Malcolm Gladwell describes these people in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference as Connectors who serve to connect your network to a wide and new universe of contacts.
An example of a gateway connector in my network is my orchestra conductor friend Ken Woods who invited me to play in Wales for the first time ten years ago.  That single introduction led to all sorts of new relationships which have blossomed into the formation of wide and deep connections.  Ten years later, I'm happy to have hundreds of musical colleagues and friends across the United Kingdom.
A chance introduction to Oregon Public Broadcasting CEO Steve Bass, playing chamber music eventually resulted in Portland Internetworks becoming a strategic technology partner for the two of Oregon's best known public radio stations and my connecting him to hundreds of classical musicians across Oregon.  The resulting web that two connectors can create together is incredibly powerful!
So, just as I plan to increase the scale and reach of Portland Internetworks across our business community in 2018, I also intend to continue building my personal and professional network so that the quality and number of figures continues to expand. 
To this end, we are holding two February events we are calling "Professionals Plus One at the Portland Winterhawks".  Each invitee is a cherished and close member of our professional network to whom we want to share our appreciation and thank them for their friendship.  We ask each to bring a friend or colleague that we don't yet know and that would find value in knowing us.  At each of these functions, we hope that the new combination of 25 people will make new connections and friendships which will last far longer than the fun hockey game, food and beverages of the evening.
I hope that you'll consider joining us on February 7 or 21 to make an investment in your network.  Email me for an invite, or find out more information at

Did you know?
Portland Internetworks has a Culture
Page where you can meet the entire PDX 
family! Its crazy we have all our faces on
there accompanied by fun photos from our
office and events we have put on. You
have to go take a look!!!!

Birthdays this Month!
Come Hang Out With Us This Month!
Wednesday, February 7th
Pros and Plus Ones 
Networking Event at Moda Center 
Wednesday, February 21st
Winterhawks Event at Moda Center
Send us your ideas for future events: 
What topics pair well with Winterhawks Ice Hockey Games?
New Clients

Meet the Crew
Doug's Leadership Book Review

For January, I chose a short fable on how business leaders can pivot between spending their days buried in reactive activities-merciless streams of emails, customer complaints, and tactical decisions-toward more-productive efforts working on the business.  Mark Miller is the author ... 

Doug's Book Review by Doug Westervelt
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A New Home

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A New Home
A word from Doug - Closing out 2017
I'm excited to put a bow on 2017 as we reflect on the past year's achievements and look toward 2018 for more growth and change.
The past twelve months brought continued expansion of our customer community, the celebration of our twentieth year of business, and a move to an incredible new and larger office space. 
2017 marks our sixth straight year of double-digit and accelerating growth as we to broaden our reach, enhance our service offerings, and improve the consistency of our delivery quality. 
We added a number of new superstars who quickly began adding depth and enhancing process as we continue to improve our organizational maturity.  We also began sharing our insights as industry and small-business leaders with our peers, competitors and local business community by speaking and presenting at industry, training, and community events.
But, we have even greater ambitions for 2018:
In the coming year, we look forward to leveraging our new facilities to dramatically expand our training and community events.  Our expanded outreach team will better share our story as we reach further into the Portland business community and beyond.  As leaders in the managed IT service industry, we will continue to explore the future direction of technology trends and traps affecting our customers' business.  As we scale, we will increase our efforts to give back to our community with more volunteer work activity and philanthropic commitments.
I am also reviving our initiative to leverage our customer community to shape our company growth and help us prioritize the enhancement of offerings and improvements which they most value.
We expect continued changes in how our customers apply and leverage technology to improve productivity and quality in their operations, but also to create competitive advantages for their businesses.  We look forward to partnering with you as the landscape fluctuates and to grow our common futures together.
I hope that you'll join us as we open our doors for an informal get-together on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at our new office beginning at 5:30pm - 480 NE Ninth Ave, Portland OR 97232 and I'm happy to report that parking in the new neighborhood is much improved!
Hang Out With Us Offline
Wednesday, Dec 13th
Happy Hour at Portland Internetwork's New Home!
Links for Event:

December 20th - Happy Birthday,  Ryan Mortinson!
Meet Nova Bartlett 
Nova is the figure in black in the office; that will always be there to lend a hand, share a laugh or make a pun. When not making magic happen at Portland Internetworks...
Opus Agency
The winner of The Oregonian's Top Workplaces award, six years in a row, this brand events and marketing agency has perfected the art of the team. Opus Agency uses a...

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New Clients
We wanted to highlight the new members of the Portland Internetworks family.
We cannot wait to build strong and meaningful relationships with them and assist their teams in conquering any challenges they may come across.

Join our team at our Happy Hour this Wednesday!
 We are hosting it at our new building!
Come see the new digs, play a little pong and as always we have the drinks covered! 
Xmas Tree_ with a splendid beer selection in the foreground
Links Worth Sharing
- Harvard Business Review
Information and the Modern Corporation - The MIT Press: Essential Knowledge Series
Does Your Phone System Help or Hinder Employee Productivity?
 - ShoreTel Blog
Want to know who else is part of the Portland Internetworks family? 
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Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

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A Word From Doug
2017 is a big birthday for Portland Internetworks! As I reflect on 20 years of achievements, challenges, milestones, and uncertainties, this quote attributed to the late management guru, Peter Drucker, is stuck in my mind.
We set out in 1997 as a group of friends, colleagues and clients that favored camaraderie and compatibility over profits. The overriding idea was that all of our customers should be people we could "have a beer with" and our team would be people we'd enjoy spending time with outside of the office.
Fast forward to the present and this philosophy is still core to our mission and our values. We are regularly complimented on the quality of our employees, our deep relationships with our clients, and the transparency we share with everyone connected to us. 
A few of the ways we got here:
  • Our company values specifically require that we choose job candidates with the highest potential for success and retain only those employees who are exceptional in moving us toward our vision. This means there are no "filler" hires and that potential for success is a much higher determinant for hiring than pay or experience.
  • We have a consistent, methodical process for onboarding new team members that emphasizes technical training with cultural "indoctrination" in equal parts. New employees all know our company background, inside jokes, historical success and failures and house ping pong rules in their first weeks. To build camaraderie, they also embark on field trips and scavenger hunts reminiscent of fraternity/sorority pledge programs (minus the togas and beer bongs).
  • The Leadership team is completely transparent with regard to goals, initiatives, financial results, and struggles. We believe that we cannot lead without being vulnerable. We also encourage team skepticism and aren't afraid to answer the hard questions.
  • We organize a LOT of team activities in and out of the office. Skeeball tournaments, bowling, chili cook-offs, pool nights, camping trips, ping pong matches, role-playing games, movie trivia nights, golf outings, and volunteer work all help to build closer bonds and stronger empathy between our people.
  • We actively solicit anonymous employee feedback and suggestions by pulsing questions to our team every single week. We also have provided a platform for employees to praise each other, be recognized by their peers for great work, and be recognized publicly. Our technical team reviews progress toward their individual goals and career objectives biweekly instead of the traditional annual review. And, the positive customer feedback that we receive daily is shared on a TV monitor for everyone to see.
  • We celebrate and give gifts when our employees find other opportunities rather than view it as disloyalty or abandonment. It's natural that as people and companies change, that there may be time to move on and evolve.
The results? Happiness levels above industry norms, a shockingly high level of engagement and commitment, positive customer feedback and client retention, and a great environment in which to work.
This is a topic I could talk for hours about and I'd love to share some of the details as to how we've implemented all these steps. If you're interested, let's talk. I also hope you'll come to our 20 Year Celebration on July 20 to mingle with our team, customers, vendors, family, friends and prospects and help us mark this huge milestone in our success! 
Hang Out With Us Offline 
We're Turning 20...
And we want to celebrate with you!
We can't think of a better way to do that than to toast some fine microbrews, chow down on delicious BBQ, and listen to the soulful sounds of The Pete Krebs Trio. We'll be giving away lots of fun prizes too.
Join us on July 20th, at 5:00 p.m. (before all that's left are vegan hot-dogs) and let's toast to 20 more. RSVP today!
July Events
July 5th - Happy Birthday,  Thomas!
July 5th - Happy Birthday,  Jason Moos!
20 Year Anniversary Open House
July 25th - Happy Birthday,  Trevor!
Meet Andy Zirkle
Availability Alerts in ShoreTel Communicator 14.2 
New Clients 
Please join us in welcoming two new companies to the Portland Internetworks family this month. We're fired up learn more about them and solve their most pressing IT problems. 
Links Worth Sharing 
Why Read Peter Drucker? - Harvard Business Review  

Making Culture a Tangible Metric - Y Combinator
Microsoft Releases its Secret Weapon in the Cloud Wars - Business Insider

Find Out How To Get faster Service From Portland Internetworks HERE.  

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