His formula is not complicated, but it is rigorous. He talks to at least fifty people each day. He spends hours a week walking his company plant talking to employees up and down the ladder. If you send an e-mail to him or his assistant, you can be sure there will be a response within hours. He attributes his success to the blue-collar work ethic and sensibilities he was raised with by his father. About his more starched white-collar colleagues, he once told me that while he had learned what these people know, they would never have an opportunity to learn what he knew.
How do I meet everyone I want to meet during the course of a week? Someone once remarked cynically, “I’d have to clone myself to take all the meetings you take.” “Ah, you’re onto something,” I responded. “I don’t clone myself. I clone the event.” Here’s what I mean. A few months ago, I flew into New York for a two-day business stint. There were a number of people I wanted to see: an old client and friend of mine who was the former president of Lego and was now trying to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, the COO of Broadway Video, with whom I wanted to discuss a new branded entertainment TV show for one of my clients, and a close friend that I hadn’t seen in too long. I had two days, three people I wanted to see, and only one available time slot to see them all. How do you manage a situation like this? I “cloned” the dinner and invited all of them to join me. Each would benefit from knowing the others, and I’d be able to catch up with all of them and perhaps even get some creative input about the new TV show. My friend, who has a fantastic sense of humor, would enjoy the group and add a little levity to what might have been just a stodgy business meeting. I asked my friend to join me a half hour in advance at the hotel I was staying at for a little one-on-one time. And if the details of the project I was discussing with the COO were private, I might schedule a little one-on-one time with him after dinner.
The point is I’m constantly looking to include others in whatever I’m doing. It’s good for them, good for me, and good for everyone to broaden their circle of friends. Sometimes I’ll take potential employees for a workout and conduct the interview over a run. As a makeshift staff meeting, I’ll occasionally ask a few employees to share a car ride with me to the airport. I figure out ways to as much as triple my active working day through such multitasking. And, in the process, I’m connecting people from different parts of my “community.” The more new connections you establish, the more opportunities you’ll have to make even more new connections. As Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, says: The value of a network grows proportional to the square of the number of its users. In the case of the Internet, every new computer, every new server, and every new user added expands the possibilities for everyone else who’s already there. The same principle holds true in growing your web of relationships. The bigger it gets, the more attractive it becomes, and the faster it grows. That’s why I say that a network is like a muscle—the more you work it, the bigger it gets.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time - by Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz