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Networking 101 – Respect your Competition

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Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Be respectful of the competition. Give credit, where it is due.”

Apart from anything else, this is just good manners! That said, let’s examine why Renate says this.

So, here I am – an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist, working in the SMME arena.  Since I am the only one that I know of in this field, doing this particular work – life is a bowel of cherries – I don’t have any competition, my diary is pretty full and life is great.

Then one day as I am going along on my merry way, I meet Jane Doe, who does (yes you’ve guessed it) Internal Auditing and Business Administration!  So now I find myself a little corner that I hurriedly rush into to hide from my mortal enemy, who is going to steal all of my business from right under my nose, or I go out on a hell bent type mission to discredit her, trash her name, doing any and all that may be necessary to get her out of business!

Well I guess that there are some folk out there that would do exactly that, but that just seems like too much hard work to me – besides which, whilst I was busy doing all of that, Jane Doe would be working her butt off and getting business and doing really well – so what would I have achieved at the end of the day?

Knowing me, I would probably give her a call and set up a ‘one on one’ meeting.  Find out where her strengths and weaknesses are and set about exchanging ideas, material and even clients.

You see, chances are that my weaknesses are her strengths and visa versa, and she has material (like policies, procedures and templates) that I don’t have and visa versa. I may have clients that want a ‘quick’ turnaround and I am strapped for time which means that instead of working through the night every second night, like I did in December, I can actually share the load.  Then of course when I want to go on holiday, instead of everything coming to a grinding halt – she could actually keep everything running and I could do the same when she wanted a break!

For me this is a win, win situation and instead of getting myself into a real tizz about nothing, I could turn the whole thing around and work it to my advantage – a far better outcome don’t you think?

Think about it for a moment, exactly where would I have been if I had been disrespectful or bad mouthed her – pretty much in a really horrible place.  Competition doesn’t have to be a nasty experience – it can be a real keeper!

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at