Building Your Network
Not too long ago, I received a note from a reader facing an all-too-common problem. He will be managing a facility that is now under construction, but he has had no input into the design. He had approached the powers that be, but to no avail. Did I have any suggestions?
I offered some thoughts, then forwarded his question to some of my contacts who I thought might help. As I tapped my network, I wondered what his network was like. Did he have a circle of fellow facility executives he could turn to for advice?
We’re all part of networks. In some cases, those networks are essentially handed to us — for example, the network for a health insurance plan. But having a network of peers in the facility field isn’t a given. Facility executives who don’t have an extensive network would probably point to a pair of culprits to explain why — time and money.
In the long run, of course, a good network can save both time and money, to say nothing of frustration. That makes it essential for facility executives to make the most of the networking opportunities they have. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Get in the habit of asking for business cards any time you meet a peer — at a trade show or a local seminar, or if you’re checking out a facility that is using equipment you’re considering. Don’t let those cards gather dust. Take a few minutes from time to time to stay in touch with your contacts, either by e-mail or by phone. And consider online opportunities as a way to expand your network.
There’s one name you can add to your network right now: mine. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I may know someone who can help or somewhere you can look. And your questions will help me stay in touch with the kinds of problems you’re dealing with.