The business leader W. Brett Wilson made this statement in his book Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes, “When you’re investing in someone, think of it as a relationship rather than a transaction. The best relationships are based on trust, respect and mutual interests" (p. 06).
Standing out as a next generation leader in the not-for-profit sector will come down to your approach to relationships - whether these are seen as transactional or seen as sincere. Below are some insights about how to develop genuine relationships within the sector.
1. It's Not Just Who You Know, It's How You Know Them
Social networks are deceiving in that we can connect with, follow, and even be friends with what are seemingly hundreds of people, thus making it look like we know a lot of people.
To really stand out as a leader, boldly break down the walls of text, instant messaging, and status updates by interacting face-to-face with people in your network. Confidently show you are willing to invest in a genuine commitment to know people, and to know people for who they really are.
2. It's Not Just Who You Know, It's How They Know You
We are very good at pushing out the voice of Dan Pallotta and others that have very vibrant and strong opinions of the view of what we need to do in the bigger not-for-profit landscape. Yet, what is it that you have to say about the sector and where you want to see it heading?
Find your voice in the non-profit space and let it be heard. Don’t be afraid for your network to know you, and to know you for your contributions to the sector as a whole.
3. It's Not Just Who You Know, It's Also What You Know
Never be afraid to look for opportunities that will help you grow your personal value and your personal brand. When you have the opportunity to engage with those you see as mentors, don’t hesitate to take those opportunities.
Expand your own knowledge of the not-for-profit sector by asking questions, wrestling with unknown, and digesting answers. Not only will mentorship allow you to grow personally, it will also help you grow professionally as a leader.
Remember, to stand out as a next generation leader, it's not just about who you know, but what you know. Similarly, it's not just about who you know, but how you know them, and also about how they know you.
So, then, who will you get know next?
Philip J.W. Smith has been active in the executive search market for the past 17 years and has carried out successful placements for both not-for-profit and corporate clients alike. With a focus on senior executive placement, his network – and that of Philip J.W. Smith & Co. – is truly Canada wide and decidedly diverse. www.philipjwsmith.com