Keeping the axe sharp

I had a coffee a few years back with a well connected chap and we were talking about the importance of relationships in business.

At the outset of the chat the senior chap stated that it was important to keep the axe sharp.  I asked him what he meant by that. He leaned forward in his chair and asked me if I ever had the situation when I had a job to do around the house needing a particular tool I hadn’t used for a long, long time. I go to my shed, find the tool and see that it is blunt, rusty and simply not up to the job at hand. I of course replied (like most honest males out there can attest) yes. He then asked me how I felt at the time. I told him I felt frustrated and angry. Not only did I have to spend more money to buy a tool I already had purchased and owned, but the job would now take me much longer since I would have to go down to the hardware store and choose another tool from the range of dozens they would no doubt stock and try to choose. Aaaarggghhh – what a waste of time and money!

The senior chap nodded, reclined back in his executive leather chair and told me something which made a whole lot of sense. Wouldn’t it have been better to take a little bit of time and care to keep your saw or axe or whatever the tool was sharp and ready to be used just in case you ever need it? The obvious response is yes.

Well that is EXACTLY what needs to be done with the relationships and networks people have and maintain. It is far more effective to invest, build, enhance and help your network when you don’t need any help; rather than expecting your friends and contacts to help you at a moments notice when they haven’t heard you for a long, long time! sound familiar anyone?

As you know I HATE the word networking. I avoid using the word like the plague. The only reason I’m using it here is that people seem to know what it means – sort of. Tune into the next post to understand what networking really is.

Bye for now,

James E