Do you easily create alliances? What Kind of Alliances do you look for? What are your expectations from the alliances you create? I was just reading an article called “Connections with Integrity” written by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman identifies “Four Attitudes about Alliances.”
The first is: “I’ll do something for you if you do something for me.”
The second is: “I’ll do something for you, but I’m keeping track of what you owe me.”
The third: “I’ll invest in this relationship, and I expect you to invest commensurately over time.”
And the fourth: “I’ll invest in this relationship because it is the right thing to do.”
You can read the entire article and his observations regarding these various style in Issue 67 Summer 2012 of Strategy+Business you can find it online at http://www.strategy-business.com/current_issue.
These are nuanced difference and there is nothing inherently right or wrong or good or bad about any of them. However it is my observation that for the most part successful networkers move from style one to style four as the person becomes more experienced. The quid pro quo approach of #1 seems easy enough and is the style we are all superficially acquainted with that has spawned the axioms; “One hand washes another” and “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” This is not a very generous or sophisticated approach and does not garner trust, which Mr. Hoffman points out.But it is a somewhat practical approach for short term relationships or objectives.
I have a fondness for #2 because it is reminiscent of the movie the “Godfather” where Vito Corleone suggests to the undertaker that he will grant his request (regarding his daughter and her boyfriend) but he must remember that he owes him a favor which when asked he must repay. Though he may never be asked. It is the unknown nature of the unpaid debt that causes the funeral director some anxiety. When the Don’s oldest boy Sonny is killed in a hail of gunfire he calls on the fellow to “use all his skills” to fix him up so that his mother does not have to see him that way. Thankfully, an appropriate repayment. (Godfather fans will appreciate this reference. Everyone else thanks for your indulgence).
It appears to me that long time entrepreneurs learn that #4 is the most practical and effective. Don’t worry about keeping score. In this case the axioms “Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose” – -“what goes around comes around” – – “you receive in proportion to what you give” may be more appropriate or simply “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Being magnanimous is more elegant and in the end it builds trust and stronger alliances.
For this reason I invite people to write blog articles for this blog. Tell me a story about networking or how you use business cards. I invite authors and publisher to leave a comment about their books at http://facebook.com/authorsbroadcast and I routinely interview authors and publishers on my TV show “Authors Showcase” with no quid pro quo. Yes they get some exposure and I get some content in return but I make no demands. My intent is to offer win-win opportunities that benefit everyone in the spirit of mutual cooperation. I have found that this builds trust and sets the foundation to build stronger and more meaningful alliances over time. When people have an opportunity to use my services or refer me to someone for a web video or book trailer they typically think of me.
What are your ideas and thoughts about this topic? What style suits you? When and why? What can I do for you specifically? What kind of networker are you?