Networks, Not Networking
James Millar came up with the idea for his new book “Building Bridges” in a moment of epiphany: he was standing with an attorney colleague looking out at the Manhattan skyline when he realized that every building was filled with professionals who could benefit from the innovations and insights that executive peer networks can deliver. The first part of James’ book outlines 8 core principles that everyone should consider when designing a peer network, and the second delves into practical instructions that can help you design and build your network. Along the way, James distinguishes between networking, the verb (shallow, transactional interactions that deliver little value) and the kind of robust, substantive networks that attorneys and other professionals can build if they approach the process with the right mindset.
Lawyers especially can benefit from executive peer networks to inform their understanding of the important factors that affect and even define their practices, including:
- External factors (regulations, legal/commercial shifts, market trends)
- Internal factors (company policies, practices, cultural norms)
- Personal and professional factors (career path, leadership development, building a team, work-life balance)
In addition to those advantages, attorney can benefit from peer networks by:
- Gaining visibility into their clients’ needs beyond the narrow scope of a particular legal engagement. As a fly on the wall, attorneys can start to understand the issues their clients really care about (i.e., the 90% of their clients’ day that is “below the waterline,” to draw on the classic iceberg metaphor).
- Using an executive peer network as a way to spend time with important clients in a non-transactional setting. This sends a subtle but unmistakable message to clients: we have your back, and we want to support your agenda, not ours.
We hope you enjoy the show, and don’t forget to check back next month for another new episode!