Mike Macedonio joins Dr. Misner this week to talk about “Networking Up.” We tend to network with people like ourselves or people who are less successful than we are. This is where we feel comfortable, but if everyone brings people at the same level into the network, over time the network will weaken.
Instead, we should look for opportunities to “network up” and connect with people who are more successful than we are.
Networking Up Doesn’t Mean Excluding Your Current Network
When you make connections to successful people, look for opportunities to invite members of your current network to meet them, or to invite these new connections to your other networks.
Where to Network Up
It’s not just the yacht club and the country club. Successful people are often charitable people, so service organizations like Rotary and charity fundraisers are great opportunities to meet them. Professional associations can also introduce you to people who have progressed further than you have in your profession.
How to Network Up
Networking up is not about sucking up. Networking is always about helping others as a way of growing your business. No matter how much more successful the other person is, there will be something they need help with.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete Transcript of Episode 530-
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you today?
Ivan:I am doing great, Priscilla, and it was really great to see you recently. I saw you at the [chapter] recently. I was in the general Bay Area on another and I reached out to the chapter and was able to drop in. What a great group and it was fantastic having you there. I really enjoyed it. I get to see you so seldom. That was wonderful. It was great to connect with you.
I have a guest today. A really good friend of mine. The idea for this podcast, in our article, actually came from him. Mike Macadonio. Mike started with BNI 20 years ago. 20 Years! This is his 20 anniversary with BNI. He started in the region on the east coast and is now in the Bay Area. Priscilla, you know Mike well.
In addition, Mike is the Co-Founder, with me, of Asentive, a coaching and consulting company and he is also the co-author for two of my books. Both best selling books “Truth or Delusion” and “World’s Best Known Marketing Secret” the fourth edition. Mike, it’s really a pleasure to have you on my podcast.
It’s great to be on, Ivan. Many greetings from all the folks here at Asentive, in Milan with many of your fans. I keep talking about your visit here two years ago. So, I pass on all of your best wishes.
I had a blast there. The members from BNI are awesome. The trainers and clients from Asentive are amazing. Please tell them I said hi.
We are talking today about networking up and [its] three points. I want to get to those three points but we want to talk about the scary part of networking up and then we will talk about some key points where to network up and how to network up.
The scary part that I see is, naturally we tend to network with people like ourself, with the same level of success. Success is many different things. We tend to network with people like ourselves or people that are less successful. That is where we feel naturally comfortable. And what I think is the scary part is when we creat networks, what seems to happen over time is, if everyone is networking or bringing people into the network, at that level or below, eventually what may happen is the network may weaken.
Now, that sounds scary and obvious but the reality is also we can just as easily, consciously network up. I think that’s the key. If we are really going to make a good personal network, successful personal network, and also in the organizations we participate in. I think that one of the things we need to be conscious of, that we are looking for opportunities to network up and then, what would that look like? You have certainly been around networks long enough, any evidence for you that shows up where people may tend to work with people at there level or less?
Yeah. I think people naturally network peer to peer and they naturally network down. That is, not a judgment call in a negative way but when you look at people and you say, “They need to have a network so I will bring them in. They are not as successful so I will bring them in.” Particularly, in BNI where it’s easier to invite someone who someone looks up to you, and looks up to you in your success. It’s easier to invite those people. It’s easier to invite peer to peer.
What’s hard is networking up. What’s harder is asking people to either join your own personal network or join a group like BNI, who you know are more successful. When I stated BNI, 33 years ago, every single person in that first group, except one, was more successful than me. I brought in more successful people than me because I knew, if I was networking up, I was going to be a lot more successful. So what do you think are some of the key points in networking up, Mike?
One of the key points that I found, is that just using the term “networking up”, sometimes people will assume we are excluding our existing network. Networking up is not about abandoning your current network. As a matter of fact, when you are networking up, you actually start bringing more value to your current network. Ivan, I know personally that being involved with you and you’re networking up activities, how I’ve benefited. I’ve been in the presence of some great people, including Michael Gurr, Dr. Tony Alasandra, Lisa Nichols, these are all people that I had personal contact, through you, through your networking up.
Thanks. I know for a lot of years we would get together at my place in Big Bear, for the summer, and I often invited these people to my house and I tried to do it when I knew key people in the organization where there and you were often there. It was great to meet people on a personal level and network with them, and of course some of them we ended up building a business relationship with like Tony Alasandra. Behavior profiles that Asentive does is all through Tony’s program.
I had a similar experience a couple years ago, when entering a big race, where I was able to enter into a category called “CEO Challenges”, where everyone in my category was a CEO. One of gentleman I met, his name was Kent, very humble man and a phenomenal bike rider, racer. I ended up getting to know him and I invited him to a big cat rescue that I am on the board of directors for. This is a perfect example of how my network benefited. He ended up sponsoring one of the Tigers. That’s a big ticket and a big value to people in my network. It was simply because I had the opportunity to rub elbows with people that were very successful and CEO’s of other companies.
If you can find opportunities like that, then it is definitely a great place to make those kind of connections. Let’s talk about where you go to network up. What kind of organizations do you recommend for your network up?
Where are they hanging out? Automatically people say, the yacht club, the country club and yes, certainly some of those people are hanging out there. But I also find successful people also tend to be very charitable people. Going to fundraisers or organizations that are serving the community is where you tend to find those successful people. I remember you telling this story, early on in your career you were networking at the rotary club and the people that were sitting next to you.
I talk about that in one of my books, I forget which one. I remember it was early in my career and I was complaining about mortgage rates and one of the Rotarians was like, “How much do you need?” I told him and it was just a few hundred thousand for this commercial building where BNI is located at. And he said, “I have that. What kind of interest rate are you looking for?” Literally, loaned me the money on a handshake. He took a position on it but he loaned me the money on a handshake at a Rotary meeting. That is what networking up did.
What’s really interesting about that is when you are networking up and you are in that environment where people care at that level to serve the community, they are the nicest people. To me, when people think about networking up they think about money, money, money, money. A lot of time they may be more successful than that or more successful in other areas than monetary with better connections or better skills. But generally speaking, in my experiences, I am inspired and I find it an absolute joy to be around them.
You bring up a good point. It doesn’t have to be just financially more successful, there are a number of people that I met that became mentors to me because their incredible knowledge they had, and that knowledge gave me the ability to be more successful at what I was doing. It’s not just money that measures your success in terms of networking up. We talked a little bit about the key points in networking up and about where to network up .
Service clubs to me are a huge one and professional associations and nonprofits. I went from a charitable boys’ home to being on the board of trustees of a University. Let me tell you, you are networking up when you are on a board of trustees for a university. If you say, I can’t get on a board of trustees of a university, you know where you start? Committees. Start by being on committees. That is what will lead you to bigger and bigger boards, so volunteer for those committees. Professional associations, for me Transformational Leadership Council. Professional accosiations has been fantastic for me to network up. How do you network up?
I think the key to networking up is, first, networking up does not mean sucking up. That will be very transparent. Networking is about helping others as a way of growing your business. Regardless of how much more successful they are than you, there may be something they need help with. If it’s a charitable event, like you are talking [about], they may need volunteers. They may need people on their committee. I don’t care who you are, nobody is existing without the need of some type of help. If you have the resorces or ability to help in the way, you’re going to form relationships and you’re going to move your relationship forward. Ivan, I know certainly, that’s the way you have participate in a lot of your networks, up, down and sideways.
You’re right. You say up, down and sideways. Its important to know that you can get great contacts or connections whether you are networking up or networking down. It was a BNI member who introduced me to someone that introduced me to speak at an event where you were at, Mike, and I met Jack Canfield and then got into the Transformational Leadership Council and introduced to someone else and that ended up with me meeting Richard Branson. That began with somebody who was networking down, which in effect, they were less successful than me going into this. Don’t hear what we are saying and just build your network by networking up. Instead, networking up is a piece of what you want to do to build a powerful personal network. Any closing thoughts Mike?
I think you nailed it right there. Networking up is inclusive not exclusive. You want to maintain your current contacts and go outside of your comfort zone and make a conscience effort to network up. That was perfect, Dr. Misner.
Great! Mike, listen! Thank you so much for this topic. I really appreciate it. I think I may have a follow up to this. I know you and I are working on an article, and I have done an article on networking up and have a few other ideas. There may be a follow up to this podcast coming down the pike. I appreciate your time very much, Mike. It’s always great working with you. I will turn it back over to you, Priscilla.
Thank you both. This is great information. I would just like to remind listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success channel on YouTube. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward you having you join us again next week for another exciting episode on the Official BNI podcast.