The ETP Network: The Uncommon Network

 

By Chip Hartman, September 11, 2007

In the time it takes to read this sentence, hundreds of ETP Network members worldwide will be contacted for job interviews, sign employment contracts, and make long sought-after career changes. Of course there are many other networking groups that can make similar claims, and after all, aren’t these groups all pretty much the same? You join the group, make some phone calls, share leads over the Internet, and then prime yourself for the big interview, right? Then you accept the job offer, start collecting the handsome paycheck, and toss your networking contact list into the shredder because, after all, who needs it anymore, right?

Oddly enough, ten or fifteen years ago, this might have been a likely scenario. In today’s business environment, however, this plan of action is part fantasy and part death wish. Of course it’s normal to regard the attainment of a career goal as an exhilarating and rewarding event in one’s life, but it’s also a grave mistake to regard it as an endpoint on some career management timeline or as the final link in a long chain of seminars, handshakes, business card exchanges, and 30-second elevator speeches.

What’s become increasingly clear in today’s fast-paced technology-centered business environment is that the power which drives success comes from the networking machinery in use once the career management journey is initiated. The principle in play is simple and elegant: The more unique and polished your networking machinery, the greater your chances of not only attaining your career goals, but re-engaging that very same machinery without missing a beat if the new position suddenly vaporizes.
ETP Network members know that theirs is a most uncommon network, a network built with meticulous care over the years by founder Rod Colon in his mission to empower today’s professionals with the tools, resources, and values needed to achieve their career management goals. But what are the real secrets of its success? What makes the ETP Network such an uncommon network among so many other groups?

1. Becoming CEO of ME, Inc.

New ETP Network members are automatically designated the CEO of ME, Inc. and charged with the responsibility of planning and executing the strategic takeover of their own careers. As CEOs of ME, Inc.,
ETP Network members are expected to permanently discard the all-too-human traits of tolerating obstacles and wallowing in negativity. Instead, fledgling ETP Network CEOs quickly learn to master the art of problem-solving, put a positive spin on virtually everything they say and do, and convert obstacles into opportunities.

Not long ago, a new
ETP Network member contacted Rod Colon seeking to engage his services as a career coach. Just ten minutes into the call, the neophyte member was shocked to discover that Rod did not wish to coach him — at least not right away — because of the negative tone infusing everything he said. Rod assured him that once his inner values were more properly aligned with those of any real CEO, he would be most happy to coach the outer man. So is this a hard-nosed, intolerant, and uncaring approach to dealing with a new member? Not at all. This is the networking equivalent of “tough love” and it’s highly effective because it places the onus for success on the member, not the coach.

2. The Reciprocity Factor

In a particularly insightful book about networking called "Never Eat Alone", author
Keith Ferrazzi describes a person he calls “The Networking Jerk.” We’ve all seen networking jerks. They prowl big networking events and view them as parcels of real estate to be bulldozed by relentless invasions of personal space and an abject disregard for tactful introductions. To sum it up, the entire focus of the Networking Jerk is “What can you do for me and how soon can you do it?”
ETP Network members learn early on that truly successful networking is predicated by a genuine desire to offer one's skills and talents to individuals, small groups, or even entire organizations without assurances that favors will be returned proportionally or that “opportunity dividends” will be instantly dispensed. In simple terms, if your goal is to get a job – quickly – and you find it necessary to step all over fellow networkers to get it, the ETP Network is not for you.

3. The Never-Ending Learning Curve

When it comes to networking, hubris ranks as one of the world’s deadliest sins. Once mired in believing that we know all there is to know, it’s painful to admit that we’ve been wrong or that there is far more to learn in the quest to manage careers and form meaningful bonds with people who might want to help us along on our journey. Keith Ferrazzi goes a step farther and proclaims hubris a career management killer.

Everyone, regardless of intellect, experience, wisdom, or self-worth, has the capacity to learn from others and build meaningful relationships. Arrogance is rarely appreciated in networking organizations and tends to build sudden and often disproportionate amounts of ill will and mistrust.

To counteract the tendency toward lapsing into arrogance, the
ETP Network offers a smorgasbord of online training, seminars, forums, conferences, and a wide range of other resources that provide nourishment for the eager networker's mind.

4. Staying Interconnected

Harnessing the power of the Internet — the greatest switchboard ever built —
ETP Network members live in continuous information-sharing mode. As members both nourish - and become nourished by - fellow members through forums such as LinkedIn, the effect is like a torrential downpour of leads, contacts, and opportunities in which no one seems to mind being without an umbrella.

As exciting as current Internet technologies are, ETP Network members can look forward to even more exciting developments such as unified communications, hybrid networks, cross-connecting contact databases, and MP3-based multiformat resumes. With new web technologies evolving constantly, it’s likely that the Internet will remain as one of the ETP Network’s most promising resources.

5. Mentoring and Coaching

Even CEOs recognize the need for developing special bonds with those who can guide them through particularly difficult business decisions. As successful
ETP Network members advance their career goals, the spirit of compassion and comradery that are hallmarks of the ETP Network often compels many to seek out those who could benefit from a unique perspective or two. In this manner, the nurtured become the nurturers and they become eager to share their experiences, forge connections, and guide newcomers through the increasingly complex world of career management networking. The ageless cycle of acquiring and passing wisdom for the benefit of everyone is repeated yet again.

6. Cultivating Your Passion

People who exude passion about what they love to do are like magnets. Put a few in the middle of a networking event and let the natural ebb and flow of conversation take over and simply watch the crowd. Those who speak with genuine passion about their own interests are easy to spot because of the excitement, enthusiasm, and intensity with which they shape their surroundings.

ETP Networking events provide a unique forum for members to cultivate their passion and infect the crowd with their enthusiasm. From keynote speakers to first-time attendees, the opportunities are almost endless for individuals to bring excitement and energy about their genuine interests to the event.

It’s generally considered an impossible task to measure the impact of one person’s passion on someone whose mind is receptive to it. What is known, however, is that passion about work, academics, the arts, or just about anything else is very much like dropping a lit match onto a pile of very dry kindling. Only each individual’s willingness to learn and their desire to achieve true success affects the intensity of the fire.

A Shameless ME-Centric Conclusion

Although I am a new member of the
ETP Network
, I have found each passing day to be filled with unique challenges and opportunities. The challenges are often daunting but with each new attempt to meet them head-on, I find more and more opportunities also presenting themselves, waiting to be explored.

Yes, I am that new ETP Network member who Rod chose not to coach right away. Of course I now understand why this was a necessary decision for him. After all, I had gotten bogged down with decades of negative baggage and it took Rod all of ten minutes to spot it. After convincing me of the dire need to adjust my values, he gave me some sensible tips on how to make significant improvements in daily interactions with those around me. After putting those suggestions to work, I’m now getting more phone calls, people are starting to contact me again about my web communications business, and in general the world seems a lot brighter.

Then again, there was no way to outsource my values adjustment problem. As the CEO of ME, Inc. along with literally thousands of supportive fellow CEOs in this most uncommon network, the responsibility was all mine.

About the Author
Chip Hartman is a web communications specialist based in Montville, NJ. As an employee of AT&T Public Relations, he was part of the team that designed and developed AT&T's first intranet news portal, The InfoCenter@AT&T (SM). He's written numerous articles and designed web sites for AT&T's internal organizations such as AT&T Business Services, AT&T Consumer Services, Network Services Division, and AT&T Labs. He was awarded the 1998 NJ-IABC IRIS Award for his work on The InfoCenter@AT&T and likes to collect commendation letters from satisfied clients. Email: HalHart@optonline.net