A Word From Doug
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.