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George N. posted a couple of days ago three opportunities to network this week, of which I originally planned on attending only one, maybe two. But it got me to thinking about networking as a concept again.
A meeting yesterday with Lou Tisler and Lakewood Councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan at Cafe AhRoma sparked the thought. I never met Lou face to face, but he is an active commenter on the blogs, shares a number of aquaintances with me, and is active in the non-governmental civic space. I never met Mary Louise before, virtually or otherwise.
Anyway, Mary Louise was friendly, but focused on the business and had to run out after an hour or so, as busy politicians usually must do. Lou stayed another three quarters of an hour where I learned about how long he has worked in the civic space, the difference between dealing within a city ward and being regional. We talked about the difficulty in keeping balance with our professional and "real" life. How to delegate in volunteer environments. Finding the money, getting the money, ASKING for money. Nonprofit structures, nonprofit relationships with its constituents and with municipal governments. Cool new projects and scope development into scope creep. Trying to meeting unfair expectations.
And finally how he has kept the connections and relationships with other CDCs and the varying amounts of collaboration he has benefitted from and helped others. This I am not surprised.
I felt like in that short extra span of time was when we connected. The extra bit of effort where we talked on the narrow overlap of our interests created a springboard to discover other areas where we can support, help, identify, and create opportunities for each other. And not for any ulterior reason, but because we want to help each other because we like each other.
So what does this have to do with networking? It shows where the value is in it. And like anything with value, it does not have intrinsic worth. Value must be added, with work, with time, with discipline, and with devotion. Because volume is not value, quality is not quantity. Value is in the strength and depth of the relationship, not in how many were collected. Because with one good partner, more can be accomplished than with a horde of opportunists.
I think that because of the extra effort and time, Lou and I are well on that road.
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