The 3 C’s Of Networking – Why Culture Counts


170719 Image - Culture

We’ve all heard the saying that all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

As it turns out, there is plenty of truth to the statement, and it’s more relevant than ever to how we manage, maintain and contribute to a networking group’s culture. Much like with one rotten fruit in a bunch of good ones, often the changes are invisible to the naked eye and if not carefully monitored can take place without you knowing it.

“Bad apples”

When a single fruit gets ripe, it emits the invisible, unscented gas, ethylene, which acts as a ripening agent. When you store fruit together, it’s only a matter of time before they start getting ripe and eventually rotten.

When it comes to managing a networking group’s culture, a similar principle applies. It can take just one ‘bad apple’ to keep a group from reaching its potential, and often without any fighting or negative behaviour involved. Sometimes you won’t even be aware that there is a ‘bad apple’ next to you.  The ‘bad apple’ might not have negative intentions – but their actions may not be congruent with the groups, which can cause problems. We’ve seen this first hand at The Business League.  Last year we had to ask a member to leave, as their actions were not aligned with our expectations of members and ourselves.  This member was hounding other members, badgering them into actions and was taking, with no giving.  We approached this member and had a talk about what we were seeing, unfortunately their behaviour didn’t change. Within weeks of the member leaving we saw an increase in ‘vibe’, members were re-engaging more and were supporting each other more. Our culture is the most important component that we treasure at our events.

Another example comes to mind that shows the importance of culture at the networking events you chose.

I was once part of a networking group that accepted an accomplished member who was great to work with – except he was much more interested in rapidly expanding the size of the group by bringing in new members as quickly as possible than he was about adding value to the existing members.

He believed that this would be the best way to get the returns he was after.

If you read our previous blog on the importance of commitment in networking, you’d know we strongly believe that it’s better to concentrate on building relationships with a handful of people to get the best returns out of your efforts.

Because what this man wanted was not in alignment with what the group wanted, he eventually started to act out in frustration. And soon afterwards came the problems: hurt feelings and damaged relationships.

He might not have set out to damage the networking group, but by being fundamentally opposed to its culture he ended up doing it anyway. It’s a reminder that we need to be very careful with who we allow into our groups – if we have the hope of keeping them engaging and productive in the future.

Great community culture

If you aren’t sure where to begin on improving your networking and seeing the benefit of a great culture in your networking group, then come and check out one of our breakfast events.  The next step would be to attend a Business League Breakfast and immerse yourself in a great community culture.  CHECK OUT the next one HERE.

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