Max Dumais

SmartCompany /

Having a good idea is a start. Sharing and refining it with others, and tapping their experience and energy, is what gives it impetus.

The power of networking

Nothing exists in any business that did not exist first in a mind. The sober fact is that most ideas remain just that until we begin to talk about them and share them. It is in the sharing that they begin to take on a life of their own and to manifest in concrete and rewarding ways. What’s more, when we articulate our ideas we begin to seem them in context and we surround them with meaning in their telling.

One of my board roles involves fund-raising with PANDA (the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association). At our recent office opening I cornered our landlord to test his opinion on our proposal to hold a dinner for men to consider either the experience of living with the experience of depression.

At first his eyes glazed over and it was clear he couldn’t see how all this had anything to do with him. Then he suggested that men would prefer a lunch to a dinner for that sort of thing. I suggested a name: ‘The Last Long Lunch!’ He had a better idea: ‘Not the Last Long Lunch’. By now he was onside and committing to a table of 10. The process of engagement and inspiration that this process demonstrates very well is part of the success of not only telling your story, but of getting others to buy in.

Many successful entrepreneurs have a great story about how they got where they are. Given the opportunity, it is not the theory of management or the nuts and bolts of their business that they spruik about, it’s the magical story of how they got started and what happened a long the way. Take a look at Richard Branson’s story, or Dick Smith’s wonderful Australian Story on the ABC about the formative experience of sailing the Pacific with friends that were to remain his friends for life.

Tip of the week: Successful CEOs are never one-man shows. It is all about marshalling commitment from people with levels of energy, expertise and experience that complement each other. Successful businesses are built around savvy mentors, vibrant networks and switched on provocateurs who care enough to help you make the difference.


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