By any standards, Jack Killion has led an extraordinary career. A graduate of MIT business school with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Yale, Killion spent his first decade in business at Elliott Automation, a British technology company. After two years in the U.S. Army, he was a consultant for McKinsey and Company, where he worked with Fortune 500 companies.
In the 1970s he started his own business, KBO Inc., with two partners. Together they raised funds and advised early stage, high-growth potential companies. He then launched Country Music Magazine while his company published Harper’s as the magazine was in the midst of a turnaround period.
Next Killion took over the family business, Killion Extruders, when his father died. He sold that company after managing it for 10 years, and then founded another company, Wireless for the Corporate User, which was an early mobile communications technology. He sold this company and founded yet another venture, the Eagle Rock Diversified Fund, in 2015, which he continues to head today.
Meanwhile, he has been a speaker and author. In 2012 he and a co-founder launched Bluestone + Killion, a training firm.
Killion credits most of his success in business to one factor: There’s a reason his book is called “Network All the Time, Everywhere, with Everybody.”
Killion will speak Friday, March 3, from 9:45 a.m. to noon at the Professional Service Group of Mercer County at the Princeton Public Library. For more information, visit www.psgofmercercounty.org or e-mail email@example.com.
In addition to his speaking and running his business ventures, Killion finds the time to write a blog with business advice for job seekers and business people, at www.networkallthetime.com. In a recent post, he explained the benefits of networking:
Savvy business leaders understand the importance of skilled networking and relationship development. Obviously some are better at it than others. But all generally “get the need.”
However, many view networking narrowly, i.e. it is externally focused, sales-related and mostly about developing new business with existing customers and new ones in traditional target markets.
In many organizations only a few people at the top help make rain. Why? Imagine the power of getting all of your people networking and building relationships of all sorts that will benefit your organization.
Networking is much more powerful than to limit it to just a few people doing it with the narrow goals of bumping up sales a little. A key point we drive home in our high impact coaching programs is that networking, when done the right way, can be a game changer and a huge competitive advantage in creating a high energy culture and building a thriving profitable business. Everybody can learn and develop these skills.
Just to get you thinking, here are some other reasons and keys ways to leverage networking efforts, including:
Finding and recruiting new talent. See example below re: how I found a couple of talented young people.
Identifying potential new suppliers. There are almost always better resources out there for you to evaluate.
Creating strong strategic alliance partners. In this fast paced, complicated world, going it alone often does not make sense.
Knocking down the silos and getting through the layers within organizations that stunt growth, prevent team work, slow innovation and cripple cultures.
Uncovering new geographical and sector markets to evaluate and possibly pursue
Monitoring competition. Do you really know who your U.S. and international competitors are?
Learning about new technologies. None of us can keep pace with the speed of tech developments
Finding new facilities. Maybe you are expanding at a current location or opening new facilities elsewhere or consolidating and downsizing.
Identifying possible merger or acquisition candidates if that is part of your strategy
Discreetly pinpointing possible buyers of your business if it is exit time
Uncovering special consultants, advisors or free-lancers to help you navigate through a particular opportunity or challenge or to be an ongoing source of important wisdom as members of your outside advisory team or board of directors.
Besides a list like this, effective networking is a great time saver if your network of quality connections is robust enough. Too many people think networking is too time consuming. Wrong! The right kind of networking is a huge time saver. Plus there are many more specific ways to leverage business related, successful networking and relationship development efforts. We would welcome any additions you might want to suggest to this list. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Besides business gains there are plenty of life enhancing benefits that are achievable if you network. Here are just two recent examples:
My good friend Jeanette Bronee, author of Eat to Feel Full and head of her own New York City based health counseling firm, Path for Life Self Nourishment Center invited me to attend one of her book signings at Tay Tea: Gourmet Teas in Andes, NY — a three hour drive each way.
After the book signing we had dinner with Jeanette and her husband at Brushlands, a totally out of the way restaurant in Bovina, NY. Don’t miss it. It’s worth the drive but make reservations! Jeanette is a powerful resource for anyone wanting to take more effective control of their health. She has a global client base.
Recently I was networked by a dean to a professor in the liberal arts program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She offered me an opportunity to speak with a summer class of graphic design students at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). The topic was networking as a key to uncovering and developing terrific career opportunities. All the students were impressive with their portfolios, attention, and questions. We had a great two-hour conversation. Every one of them followed up with me via e-mail within 24 hours. Many suggested we meet over morning coffee, which I have done with several.
As a result, I have found two exceptionally talented, recently graduated graphic design students. Both are working with me to design and produce the website and book I have written about networking.