Like most execs I spent very little time worrying about my network. Who really has the time especially when you put in 12 hour days. And those in my network worked in the same industry as myself. Well that was a mistake on both counts. When the financial crisis occurred my network crumbled like a house of cards. So I had to rebuild my network from the ground up.
I learned from my failure. I wanted my network to be broad and general. No more will I just have people in one particular industry. One-way I am rebuilding my network is by golfing. I am at the driving range 2 to 3 times per week and play a round at least once per week.
Golfing is about more than golf. It is a chance to get to know someone outside of an office setting. There is a certain comfort level to be said on a golf course, which you do not find elsewhere. I am not a good golfer. But so what? Most people that do play are not good either. That is what makes it fun. You are playing a round with someone which can last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. That is a lot time to talk about business, family, socialize, and network with strangers.
This week alone I played with an owner of a construction company that gave me three names of people to network with. All because I played a round of golf with him for the first time and he like our conversation. Can you ask for any better way of networking? No elevator pitches, no formal interviews. Just two guys bulls##ting on a nice day shanking balls around a course and having fun doing it.
For those of you not playing golf and that want to broaden your network, take a few lessons with a pro and get out there. Those of you out-of-work, get out from behind your computer and go and enjoy some fresh air. Who knows, you might meet your next boss on the links. The worst that could happen is your Rolodex will be full with names. And in a world where networking is king, there is nothing wrong with that. Right?