Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Delivering Happiness

I am a name dropper. I have met a lot of people and feel I am connected to many with similar interests. The problem is through my network of connections, we call them friends on Facebook, there is little in the way of true friendships. I know nothing about my network: are they married, have kids, what is their belief system, what are their needs, etc.

I am reading through Tony Hsieh’s book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” and he says an interesting thing about networking that I feel can change the way that we approach others in life, in work and in ministry.

Tony Hsieh:

I personally really dislike “business networking” events. At almost every one of the events, it seems like the goal is to walk around and find people to trade business cards with, with the hope of meeting someone who can help you out in business and in exchange you can help that person out somehow. I generally try to avoid these types of events, and I rarely carry any business cards around with me.

Instead, I really prefer to focus on just building relationships and getting to know people as just people, regardless of their position in the business world. I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are not in the business world because they almost always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationships tend to be more genuine.

If you are able to figure how to be truly interested in someone you meet, with the goal of building a friendship instead of trying to get something out of that person, the funny thing is that almost always, something happens later down the line that ends up benefiting either your business or yourself personally.

So my advice is to stop trying to “network” in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive both personal and business benefits from your friendships later down the road. You won’t know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road.

Can this model be used in ministry? Are we building true friendships or just building a roster of names to our church attendance records? Maybe we should stop working in our offices and go meet people.

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