Last week some of you probably had the day off work for President’s Day,
so I thought it would be interesting to examine how our nation’s first President was a great leader and a great networker. I ran across a great piece about Washingtion‘s business dealings in the Wall Street Journal this week that will help me illustrate.
It is probably news to most (at least it was to me), that Washington was a whiskey producer. In fact, he was the largest whiskey producer in all of colonial America. Much of Washington’s business and political success, was due in large part to his networking principles. As the article explains,
Washington once lost a 1755 campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates because he didn’t treat prospective supporters to a drink. Two years later, he rolled out 144 gallons of refreshment. He won with 307 votes, a return on his investment of better than two votes per gallon. He never lost another campaign.
Now I wouldn’t suggest that you roll out 144 gallons of booze the next time you meet with prospective clients (in fact Washington himself was a very moderate drinker), but the principle that a good networker "gives first" definately applies! What Washington realized in his losing campaign was that you can’t expect to receive (in his case votes), unless you first are willing to give.
So the next time your aware of a networking opportunity, think about how you can be a resource for others and not the other way around. We all have skills and knowledge that can be helpful and when you become a resource for others, people will recognize your expertise, refer you, and help your network grow!
To see the full article about George Washington’s whiskey business, check out this link: www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009692