Interview by Bruce Newman, The National Networker
Mid-Atlantic Bureau Chief and Vice President of The
Productivity Institute, LLC
to read article on The National Network web site
As this is my first article as the new mid-Atlantic Bureau Chief, I would
like to introduce myself and explain how I plan to use my monthly column. I
have over 25 years of experience in business (please see my bio) and believe
that good communications are essential to the success of any project or
company. Networking is an important component that when done properly, can
produce excellent results and if applicable, significant gains in productivity.
I plan on using my monthly column to promote communications and networking
announcements and to feature at least one networking organization from within
my geographic region. Any networking group or organization that has a special
meeting or conference they wish to announce, relevant articles or topics they
wish to discuss, or would like to be featured by me (if possible), please email me.
This month's featured networking organization: ETP Network
was founded in 2004 by Rod Colon and currently has roughly 600 members in18
worldwide chapters. My phone meeting included Rod Colon (founder), Carl Reid
(business manager) and Chip Hartman (communications manager).
Bruce: Rod, why did you start ETP Network?
Rod: ETP Network evolved from helping professionals as a recruiter.
95% of the resumes I received had no chance in being submitted to the client. I
began to call each candidate and give them a few words of advice and guidance
as to how they should approach their job search. I found the majority of
candidates had no game plan of managing their careers.
Carl: Over the last twenty years, there has been a paradigm shift in
business. Now, two years at a job is a lifetime due to corporations being in a
constant flux to run leaner. With people constantly in or considering a
transition, we saw a huge need for people to be better prepared and more able
to handle this transition involving how to move forward.
Bruce: How has ETP Network helped its members?
Rod: For most professionals the ETP Network is the Statue of Liberty
of career management by accepting professionals from all walks of life and
helping them Own Their Careers. By developing a simple/logical
game plan for owning their careers, each member begins to take control of their
career rather than being controlled.
Chip: The ETP Network changes the mindset of its members by having
them assume full responsibility for all of their career management decisions.
People learn how to build networks from the ground up by forging meaningful
connections that develop into trusted relationships over time. As they build
their trusted networks, we teach them how to find advocates within those
networks when they are in periods of transition.
Carl: We teach people how to leverage their trusted network and run
their career as their business. We're preparing our members for a job shift and
how to be prepared with their network
Carl: We teach the importance of solvency and having multiple profit
centers to help smooth over the lean times. When people are down, there is also
a fear factor which we attempt to get them past.
Bruce: What has the response been to your actions?
Chip: There is a real need and desire for the structure that we
provide. There are people in transition looking for the kind of guidance and
support we offer. Because the attendance on our weekly conference calls keeps
going up, we believe we are meeting the needs of many people who have found
other networking groups unsatisfactory. Rod blends guidance, coaching,
motivation, and the wisdom from over 24 years of experience in his interaction
with ETP members.
Bruce: What do you see as your primary function for the ETP Network?
Rod: Encourage, train, support, mentor and advise fellow CEOs of ME,
Incorporated in all aspects of defined responsibilities to their personal Board
Chip: Among the primary functions of the ETP Network is the
empowerment of individual members to think and act as the CEO of ME, Inc. so
that they can take control of their own career management decisions. We
literally train them to think of their careers as a business. To fulfill that
function, ETP Network leaders adopt the role of coaches, motivators, and
educators. We put a strong emphasis on using technology, especially social
networking technology, to help us achieve this goal. We even have a
customizable toolbar designed by Business Manager Carl Reid that puts all of a
member's online tools in one place that's always visible and always accessible.
Bruce: Are people responsive to your approach? Why?
Chip: Not only are they responsive, they actually appear to be
actively seeking it out. It's possible that our network is one of the very few
that actually teaches people how to connect and develop trusted relationships.
The techniques really work and really produce amazing results. Rod has the
ability to inspire people, especially when they're in transition. He is
dynamic, articulate, and relates meaningfully with members because of his
no-nonsense approach to networking and career management.
Bruce: You currently send out many announcements and emails to your
Carl: Our goal is to get people involved on a regular basis. Part of
the process of engaging people in the network is by making it participatory
through the exchanging of ideas. It's particularly good for many of the new
members since it helps them maintain their momentum and support. We try to get
people in the mindset and trigger their thinking in the CEO in running the
business of Me, Inc. paradigm.
Carl: ETP is a member-driven organization that shares information to
create dialog. It encourages members to help each other's career as well as
their own. We expect that members in all stages give back to the network. The
news digest helps us accomplish that.
Bruce: What has been the most difficult thing in growing ETP Network?
Carl: Overcoming the mindset that people have that networking is
about "what I need". Our growth has been steady, but ETP Network is
about the quality of members helping each other, not quantity. Sometimes
members move on once they have achieved a new position. However, we encourage
them to stay within the organization and continuing the exchange of ideas as
well as helping other people going through their own transition.
Chip: The most difficult challenge for us is getting members to adopt
the shift in thinking that's necessary in order to manage their own careers.
Rod succeeds in growing the ETP Network by spending a good deal of time
emphasizing two things: 1) learning how to set up meaningful connections and 2)
taking those connections and building long-term trusted relationships from
Bruce: What is your goal for the ETP Network?
Chip: While the ETP Network is constantly evolving to meet the needs
of today's business professionals, its core principles of building solid trusted
networks and achieving a successful shift in attitude about ownership of one's
own personal career management business remain firmly entrenched as
"bedrock values." Our goal is retain those core values while building
enough flexibility for growth as economic conditions and technology continue to
drive substantial cultural change.
Carl: People usually come to ETP Network because they are in
transition or searching for opportunities but they stay because of the value of
the networking associations that they make.
Bruce: How can people best improve their networking skills?
Rod: Have fun with networking – the building, maintaining and
leveraging of friendships while also realizing that networking is critical to a
successful ME, Inc. enterprise. Networking is the Research & Development
Department for the ME, Inc. enterprise.
We use the following model as our group guideline:
"Networking is the process of building and maintaining relationships.
It's the development of a team that will support your efforts and the efforts
of your network teammates to reach your respective goals. In practice,
networking is the establishment of multiple informal, loosely knit,
mutual-support alliances. The object is to build the best possible team."
(Networking Magic – Frishman/Lublin)
Chip: One of the best ways to improve networking skills is by staying
current with today's networking thought leaders. Two books that Rod views as
essential reading for all members are: 1) "Never Eat Alone: And Other
Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time", by Keith Ferrazzi and
Tahl Raz; and 2) The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes
Everything", by Stephen M. R. Covey, Stephen R. Covey, and Rebecca R.
Merrill. We dissect and analyze these books because they represent the so-called
molten core of networking and relationship science but are also highly
enjoyable and inspirational.
Carl: Members of the ETP Network are taught be selfless, not selfish,
when it comes to networking. You should focus on what the other person wants and
what they need. Then, later on after the relationship develops, you can focus
Bruce Newman is the Vice President at The Productivity
Institute, LLC which provides productivity by matching the specific
software products and services needs of companies to rated outstanding
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