NETWORKING IN THE AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE

Carl Wescorn said your network is your economy. Networking is a currency for those who will work to understand how to utilize it in different circumstances. Borrowing a leave from dale Carnegie’s book on How to Win Friends and Influence People, and Ben Casnocha a great young entrepreneur and founder of Comcate it is evident that business is all about relationships. But what is this about creating networks and what does it take to build great networks in Africa. Ben Casnocha has identified some essentials .however, some may be working in his community but when it comes to other parts and people might be required to learn what works for them and what does not. Below are some the things to take into consideration in the process of creating networks

KNOWING YOURSELF- it can be proved that people will tend to follow those people who seem to have direction. It is therefore, prudent that you take time to know yourself before you set out to know others. Know where your strengths and weakness lies know what are your likes and dislikes. Be free to accept your flaw that then helps you to be authentic. That way you have the opportunity to share with others freely without the fear ceaseless nagging of your subconscious mind about people discovering what you have been or you are hiding. And if there is a way on how not to create a network is to wreck your honest and trust in your relationships

SET YOUR GOALS- how can you let other people make decisions for you? When you decide that you want to become a social entrepreneur, it means you are ready to give up your privacy to some extent. But this does not permit you to give out the benefit of driving your own visions and dreams. Steve covey said” the vision bearer is the only person who sees the real picture of his dreams and he/she is capable of explaining the really picture of his/her vision, however it might be very difficult to explain the structure of the picture until you start building it. When the foundation is laid there then people start making sense of what you want to accomplish. Therefore, first set your goals before you get out developing your networks, you have to develop them before you need them. In most cases your networking goals should be long term. And be sure you don’t become over ambitious. Check your expectations and be aware that whenever there are expectations there are frustrations. Then learn on how to manage fruits of your expectations be either negative or positive

I can’t explain how in several occasions have invoked my networks to help people who are in dire need and also helping myself. Until I read becoming a better you by Joel Osteen, I never knew that networking is an investment. Joel terms it as an investment that can never be depleted. Although we should understand just like in finance we can only withdraw from our investment. The same thing applies you and me, we need to invest our time and resources in our networks . I have tried and I still try to invest in my networks. It is tiresome journey but very essential in those time of hopelessness and anguish. It does not require you to have millions of money before you start networking. This misconception, it is a fallacy that ignorant and mischievous people have always propagated. I have done it when I had no single cent, when I was under what people call the curse of Africa- poor. Believe me it only takes a smile, it takes a genuine concern of your neighbours, it take that little appreciation of the little things that somebody has done. It takes only the simple word: thank you, sorry,. Just like Dale Carnegie puts it” people are hungry of small appreciation, complement, and they will open their heart to you and whoever discovers the secret can influence the whole world. They will open the taps the springs of their good things to you. I can promise you that it works only that it takes time but let us start with small stride I am sure we can walk millions and millions of miles in the field of networking.

I am opposed to arrogance and monopolizing ideas. I am against individuals who are in position and value not those who work for them. The only sure way to remain lonely at the top is by sticking to your all-knowing mentality. Why for Christ sake will you want to make others feel inferior by rebuking them every time you see something negative, can’t you find a better way of gracefully advising and correcting the person involved? To some extent this is what most of our African fathers have done, some of you can bear me witness. Inflicting holy fear in their sons and daughters they never have any say in the family, they become antisocial. This, with time gets ingrained in their hearts and minds. It will take concerted effort for one to unlearn them. I have been there before. It has taken some time, and I am not yet done but I am not giving up. That is why we need to know ourselves before we set out for this great mission of personal development.

DO RESEARCH- this was a bit complicated before, but almost coming to an end due to the emergence of technology, you can find my name and where I work and live on the internet, you can find where my treasure is and fore sure where a person’s precious things are, they can fight to death to defend and secure their valuables. This way you can easily get a point of common interest. A point of connection. Relationship is all about chemistry, and that chemistry is brought by a point of convergence in terms of ideas and ideals. Before you embark on the journey of wanting to connect with someone know them. Those in relationship will be my witness that when the shared value diminish then cracks start forming and this become the center of divergence. We should always learn to base our relationships on a strong foundation that will eventually result in a strong ties network.

DEVELOP A PLATFORM- in most cases opportunities will not come looking for you, through serendipity most innovations have been made. In the same way while networking, we should learn to make exploration into the unknown a critical element. To Ben Casnocha, it is critical you travel to places you have never been to, talk to people from different walks of life, take jobs that you will not otherwise take , consider reading books on topics you are certain are not interesting. As much as I don’t agree with all of what he says I believe most of them are true in different circumstances. We need to figure out where people are, go there with willingness to contribute something in order to add value to the next person. Here I should not be construed to mean people should everyday be attending political rallies, being rained on because they have been bribed with a few shilling to be there to serve the culinary interest of the politicians. But I mean being in constructive groups helping one another develop skills that can help one to be self-reliant. Being a pillar in the exploration to the unknown to help others discover their talents gifts and abilities no matter the social standing of their social standing

PERSISTENCE AND CONSISTENCE- hey a word of caution, I have worked with different people and I have realized the hindrance to proper networking is all about the big man syndrome. How for heavenly sake can you by pass the secretary in an office for you to see the boss. I take offence with so many people who despise others because of their position in the society. This is stripping the dignity of humanity. In any case the person on the ground understands more than the boss. Remember all reports are done by junior officers, all the so called manual work is done by those casual laborers and for your information they have all the crucial information that you may require for that business. They have the knowledge of different operations in the company. Why then don’t we use them? Let us learn to appreciate everyone for they can be the crucial anchor to our ladder up to becoming supper connected individual. They can be the ones to give a good recommendation about us to the boss in that time of dire need. Let us take care in the process of running to catch the big fish not to stifle the small fish for they will too with time grow to become big fish. Let every day be a day that helps to connect to someone who will be of help to you and those of your networks. Let us think carefully on how we handle others for all of us are equal with equal opportunities to grow.
Take care

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