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It’s time to get out and network with your peers! When was the last time you left your office to meet with one of, or many of, your peers?
The benefits are endless. The obvious is the learning gained from talking with people that do what you do for a living. Too often we are working in a bubble and never see how others in our position are dealing with the same issues and the same problems. We can learn from each other. But as well this is an opportunity to extend our relationships both personally and professionally outside our current circle. This can result in new friendships, connections for future postings or jobs and of course resources that we can potentially count on when we need help.
I run a monthly gathering at the Schulich Executive Education Centre called The Enterprise Project Management Office Executive Forum. Ten to fifteen EPMO Directors meet for one and half hours in the early morning to talk about common issues, problems and even share successes. The unique part of this group is that in almost every case here is one or more competitor in the room.
These senior people, in my opinion, are enlightened and smart. They’re taking time out of very busy schedules to network with their peers. After one year I can see the friendships develop. But more importantly I have seen organizations learn from each other through these individuals.
This is just one of many examples of peer-to-peer learning opportunities. CIO Forums, Presidents Clubs, project management conferences, peer-to-peer lunch and learn sessions and the list goes on.
I was interviewing a colleague this morning about a white paper I am developing on PMI chapter leadership. I asked him if he could offer one piece of advice to future chapter leaders. His answer was all about networking with peers. He admits that in the past he was either too busy or uninterested in meeting with other chapter presidents but now realizes that these were lost opportunities. His advice to chapter leaders and leaders of any sort is to get out on a regular basis and network with your peers.
Get out of your office this week. Invite a colleague to lunch. Look for a forum event to attend. If you can’t find something that suits your needs, then build it yourself. Click on LinkedIn, search for your peers within competitors and elsewhere, and plant a few small seeds for quarterly gathering of like minds to share experiences and lessons learned. I promise you will be very surprised at the interest level in this kind of event.
Learning from each other, expanding our relationships both personally and professionally, gaining connections for the future are all awesome reasons to get out of the office to network with our peers.
How does your calendar look for next week?
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