Subhash Singh, Group Head – IT and Systems, Alicon Castalloy Ltd, on why professionals can’t afford to ignore the rewards of networking. By Satyaki Sarkar
Subhash Singh’s love for computers drove him to venture into the IT domain 25 years ago. He is currently the Group Head – IT and Systems At Alicon Castalloy Ltd, and his responsibilities include ERP implementation, IT infrastructure, Shopfloor automation, IoT and digitalisation. Work forms a key cornerstone of his life and he is constantly looking for ways to improve performance, drive innovation and seamlessly align modern IT solutions with business.
Subhash believes that in business and in life, connections and relationships are invaluable towards success. An important strategy that he feels IT leaders often ignore is networking. “It is extremely important for any leader to keep making connections and network constantly,” says Subhash. “Others might dismiss social media, I believe the opposite. It has made networking a lot easier and it has immense potential. When we post something about a particular topic, be it an aspect of our personal or professional life, or about news, we are directly helping the flow of information. If even 10 people read that post, they can take away something beneficial from it, while subconsciously registering you as the source of information. This helps immensely in personal branding. I’m part of several Facebook and WhatsApp groups as well as e-mail groups where we discuss work and life regularly. We are constantly benefitted through the interaction and information gathered. However, you should not depend solely on social media for networking, as there is simply nothing that can compare to the benefits of face-to-face networking. Here are the five essential benefits that one can gain.”
1. It creates opportunities
“Networking helps you learn more about current opportunities for advancement as well as potential businesses to associate with. You get to hear news you otherwise wouldn’t. That in turn opens up other avenues. Networking opens up lot of doors and creates opportunities. Someone who is now a competitor might be a partner in the future. So don’t balk at building relationships across the table. Also the connections you build will help you with recommendations, advice and suggestions in the future. So it’s in your best interest to nurture them.”
2. Helps in information gathering
“Once you build connections with people, you get to understand the ground reality of what they’re doing. It also helps you stay updated on your competitor’s moves, the technology they’re adopting, how they’re dealing with a particular advancement and integrating it with their business. Every day there is something new being developed and through networking we can learn more about its use, challenges, benefits, and the factors to consider before taking the first step. This helps create a reference point that you can build upon for improvement. Additionally, it is through networking that you can become aware of great talent and exceptional professionals who might prove beneficial to your organisation.
3. A good way to learn lessons
“Networking with people on a regular basis helps you know almost everything about them, from their personal habits and choices to how they handle issues, balance work and life, and so on. It is through regular interaction that you can spot helpful habits and practices that would also be beneficial to you. Be it maintaining health, improving relationships with employees, or maximising your productivity, there’s a lot you can learn by associating with the right people. No one is perfect. Through networking you can learn the strengths and difficulties of your peers, and adapt them in to your own role. This works both ways as others too can learn from you and benefit from your experience.”
4. Increases your brand value
“Networking isn’t just a one-time activity. The connections you make are ones you need to nurture and maintain, with regular follow-ups, and periodic interaction. It strengthens your bond with the person, while helping increase your sphere of influence. Every new connection is an addition to your network, and the more it grows the more people are aware of you, as well as what you do. This has a huge impact on the brand that you represent, as well as on your enterprise. For someone who has been managing an important project for a while, good networking helps create that personal connection with stakeholders and team members that could turn out to be the determining factor in the success of your venture.”
5. Helps further your career
“Networking is probably one of the most useful things that you can do to advance your career and reach the next level. That’s because often it’s not about what you know, but rather who you know. Through your interactions with prominent leaders you can increase their awareness of you and build your reputation as dependable, knowledgeable, and up-to-date. Networking makes you visible while bolstering your reputation and goodwill. This way you’re on the top of their mind, and when a potential role comes up they’re more likely to suggest your name.”