The value of Networking-How can civic groups help?

I spent this past weekend with over 400 of my best friends in Rotary

learning how I can be a better club president when I take office in July 2011.  The weekend we pretty busy and the process covered a wide variety of items that many of us would use in our everyday lives.  Some of the sessions included planning, administration and communication as well as working with public relations.  If you are starting to see some relevance here, then read on.

Civic clubs have tremendous value when it comes to helping leaders better develop their skills.  This post will cover just a few of those ways, but will focus primarily on the area of networking.  Leading people in a standard organization is easier than leading people in a civic group or professional association.  When you read this you might say “why?”  Here is why; when people work for you they almost have to follow your lead or they risk the possibility of discipline up to and including the loss of their job.  Leading people in a civic group or an association is different; most of the people are volunteers and they have a choice about where they invest their time.  We will talk more about this later.

Rotary and other civic groups can be networking-rich environments.  I know some who belong to such groups solely for the networking.  I find many other intrinsic reasons to belong, but fully use the networking angle as well.  Here are just a few reasons that networking in a civic group can be so useful:

  1. Most of those in a civic group have real jobs in real businesses
  2. Many of those in civic groups are leaders in their organizations
  3. Leaders in organizations make decisions that influence the group; many of these decisions also involve expenditures
  4. Many future business transactions have their roots in civic group relationships

Rotary and many other groups are not just local, but they span the United States and over 100 countries throughout the world.  I am aware that belonging to Rotary in many other countries is a very, very prestigious affair and not as easily accomplished as what it takes to become a Rotarian here.

One other perspective on why I like to network with Rotarians.  People in Rotary are interested in making things better and helping others. I like those values a lot and they have driven my life for years and will do so until I take my final breath.  One of the reasons I got into the Executive Search and Leadership Consulting world was to help companies and their employees improve and grow.  This is what “makes me tick.”

Have you ever joined a civic club?  If so, did it prove to be of value for your business and your personal development?

I find that association work makes me a better person and a better team member.  Have you found the same?

Let’s talk about this.