Hello, I am Matt Feldmann with Goshen Education Consulting and I propose that acting selflessly pays dividends in unlikely ways. Essentially, if you adopt the golden rule and perform acts of kindness for others, you will reap big benefits in the future. I call this Networking Karma. As the owner of a small business evaluation firm, I focus on this idea and believe it is responsible for my current success and will lead to future prospects. This is not just a hokey, contrived, feel good idea…it is based on social networking theory and is a major topic for books on self-help, marketing, and business development.
All of this connects back to Karma, or the principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Your good deeds today will reap rewards in the future.
Below are some examples of Networking Karma in action:
- Lead a book group with your local evaluation affiliate.
- Offer to write an evaluation plan (pro bono) for a prospective client.
- Do some of the “hard” quantitative work for a colleague without those skills.
- Recommend a colleague for a job that they are better able to perform.
Thanksgiving is next week, so this topic is extra relevant. Go do some good deeds, make friends, and you will see how the opportunities line up for you in the future.
Consider social networking theory, or the general idea that your acts of kindness have direct and indirect impacts on those around you, which serves to strengthen your social bonds. When you go out of your way to help a colleague with a new project without any expectations in return, you have created a strong connection with that person who is likely to remember you for an opportunity in the future. By continuing to conduct these acts of kindness you put yourself in the center of a network of others who interact with one another.
- Be a Connector. Through developed relationships, you may find yourself as a Connector. Malcolm Gladwell refers to Connectors as individuals who link people together. By linking others together and helping your colleagues without any expectations, your good will has positive impacts on others. Through unexpected ways your acts of goodwill, will return to as opportunities in the future.
- Social Arbitrage. As Keith Ferrazzi suggests in his book, when you work within your network of colleagues, clients and co-workers to become indispensable you become the person everyone turns to for that special thing you do….whatever that is.
- Don’t keep score. Another Keith Ferrazzi suggestion…This is critical. You must give of yourself without any direct expectations or a “return on investment.” If you expect others to return favors, you have engaged in a transaction and your act of kindness is…well…no longer kind.
- IC Topic Chats. If you want to learn more about this topic and others you can join our Independent Consulting Topic Chats on Thursday at noon ET. You also can watch my YouTube video on Networking Karma.
- Check out Keith Farrazzi’s and Tahl Raz’ book, Never Eat Alone.
- If you have not read it yet, you really should read Malcolm Gladwell’s blockbuster book, The Tipping Point. It is really good.
- Check out this related story from NPR that supports Networking Karma.
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