I have just been hired to deliver a conference keynote and an innovation summit in Dublin. The booking came about whilst having some drinks with an Irish chap in Amsterdam who knows the taxi driver that took me from Knock Airport to Westport in Ireland back in March. Had I been like Van Morrison, who never talks to taxi drivers, none of this would have happened. That’s the power of networking and coincidences.
The series of coincidences I’ve just mentioned is statistically unlikely. Importantly if any single one of them had not occurred then the result would not have happened. Does that come down to dumb luck? I think not. Let’s take a quick look at what the gurus say on the subject:
So, I’m suggesting that planning to be lucky is more effective than pure luck. How then was there some kind of plan in my lucky story? Well, it all started about 6 years ago, when I did a creativity programme for Pfizer down in Cork. The programme was very successful in so far that it produced a new synthetic route for a drug substance, which paid for the investment many many times over. More importantly, the programme was adopted by the company and one of its staff has become an acknowledged expert in the topic, having taken the approach to the US and beyond. What has this got to do with the taxi driver? Well the head of the unit referred my work to a colleague in Allergan in Westport who asked me to join a conference call to discuss the need. I offered to travel to Westport to undertake a proper diagnosis, which led to the taxi ride with Simon Moran. Simon and I hit it off instantly and got talking about all manner of business opportunities. I subsequently gained another project from a further referral to another pharmaceutical company, which prompted yet another company to hire me for the project in Amsterdam and the rest you know. Networking works when the ‘dots’ join up. In this case, this particular sequence took over six years to come to fruition. When people tell me that networking does not work, it occurs to me that (a) you have to do enough of it for connectivity to occur and (b) people are impatient and do not act consistently over time.
To have more happy coincidences from complex business affairs:
- See all interactions as potential networking opportunities, even those that seem outside your business interests
- Have enough interactions to ensure that coincidences occur. Networking is partly a numbers game
- Ensure that each interaction is of sufficient quality for people to remember it. Successful networking relies on both quality as well as quantity
To finish, here’s a song from Elvis Costello about accidents:
About the Blogger: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7725 927585. Check our latest book for Bloomsbury out at Books.