The Jenga Principle: What Jenga Has Taught Me About Networking
Remember Jenga? It always seemed so simple, right? All you had to do was take one block out, stack it, then keep moving, right?
But what happened if you pulled the wrong block?
I think that networking is all about the same idea.
Imagine you start a business and you meet someone who is slightly higher on the scale than you. You go to a party with that person and meet three other people of their caliber. Those people introduce you to some others and on and on it goes. Most of the time, like the blocks, they stay where they are for a while and you also stay where you are for a while.
Then you move.
Just like removing a Jenga block and stacking it, you have all of those people supporting your move up. Connect with the wrong one or damage a relationship with one of your foundation people, and your tower falls. Choose the right person and keep your supports strong and you keep climbing.
Like I said, I play a lot of Jenga and here’s what helps keep my tower from falling:
1. I never pull out an outside supporting block: I do my best to keep the connections with the people I first met warm and I frequently let them know that I appreciate them.
2. I pull the block out that is the most free and has the most support around it: I spend a lot of time developing relationships before I ask for things. It’s the same thing as pulling that middle block when you have six or seven others supporting you.
3. I look at the tower and identify the weak areas: I pay attention to who in my network is in need and then do everything I can to help and support them. After all, I know that I’m also a block in their tower.
It’s important to pay attention to who is a part of your foundation, who is supporting you, and who is filler. And it’s okay to remove the filler and replace it with new supports.
Now do I screw up sometimes? Of course.
But if the tower falls, there’s really only one thing to do next: Get started building it again.
So look at the blocks in your community and start playing some Jenga. You never know how high your tower may get.