Back when I was building the website for my business, my web designer suggested I improve my “web presence.” He proposed that I should join Twitter in order to do this. My first question was, “What the heck is Twitter?” Then, he mumbled something about where I lived and a rock. My second question was, “Why?” Candidly, I didn’t understand the “why” even after his explanation. I’m sure that was mostly my fault. However, he did intrigue me enough to look at Twitter and see what it was all about.
Here’s what I learned. Building a business is about building relationships. Also, learning is about surrounding yourself with others who have different expertise than you. Okay, the truth is, I already knew that. What I didn’t know was that the Internet is the ultimate networking and learning place. It has evolved to where it can actually be harnessed to drive business growth. Like any business tool, you need to apply a strategy as to how you use it. I’ll be the first to admit that you can spend a mountain of time accomplishing nothing by networking online. When used as part of a marketing plan, sites like Twitter can drive growth in ways no other tool can.
As a practice owner or manager, you need help and information on a daily basis from people that know more than you do about a particular topic. Relying only on the people that are on the payroll or a small group of advisers isn’t good enough anymore. Now, information is moving too fast. Leaders need to learn from a wide network in addition to their trusted team members.
Building Relationships in Action
Take the case of Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Paul not only networks on Twitter, but he also publishes his own blog. In his blog, he routinely asks for help and advice on major decisions he is contemplating. He has taken transparency to a whole new level. When he makes a decision, he has more information than the average CEO and everyone understands how and why he made the choice.
Seems like common sense leadership to me.