Networking lessons from Hillary Rodham Clinton
Building your reputation does not happen by accident. If you just go out and do stuff without any regards to how you are perceived you end up with the Hillary Clinton of the early days of her husband's administration. Her early reputation was defined by how she handled the health care reform issue. Health care reform was and is one of the most important problems facing our nation. Because she gave no thought to how her actions would cause others to react (aka the Republicans), her project was doomed. Opportunity lost for Hillary and for the country. Had she found a way to work all those in Washington, we might have a better program today. Make sure that you don't have a "who cares what they think" attitude, because what others think does matter if you want to establish yourself and win for the common good. Find a way to make sure that everyone involved has a voice at the table and you will prosper.
Tap into the network of those around you. There would have never been a Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign if there had not been a Bill Clinton Presidency. This is not to undermine Mrs. Clinton's qualifications as a lawyer, U.S. Senator, and an expert politician, but if she had not been first lady, someone else would have lost their party's nomination to Barak Obama. Networking is not just about you, it is about all those around you. What makes a network powerful is the strength it gains when people come together. In her defence, there probably would never have been a Bill Clinton Presidency if there had not been a Hillary Clinton as his wife and political advisor,....so what goes around comes around!!! When building your network, look beyond just those you know, but see who is in their network, then bond together to forge sucess.
Build on your past successes. Hillary did not graduate from law school and then stage a successful run for president the next day. Instead she had a successful career as an attorney and as the first lady of Arkansas. From there she established a strong reputation as a "new kind of first lady", and took her popularity to win the senate seat from New York. She parlayed it all into a historic campaign for the White House. Make sure that you continue to advance your career and tackle new opportunities when they present themselves. Use each victory as the foundation for the next adventure.
Do not allow a failure to derail your future. While her historic campaign for the White House is now reaching the end, I doubt this is the last that we will hear from Mrs. Clinton. She knows how to rise again from the ashes and will take the experience from the 2008 Campaign and do something else that will make her supporters say "WOW" (and her critics cringe). When you make a mistake or have a set back, just pick yourself up and try something new. Keep going if you want to succeed.
Do not expect your friends to support you in everything you do. Many people who served in Bill Clinton's administration decided to support Barak Obama for the Democratic Nomination. This surprised many people who thought that the FOB's (Friends of Bill) would automatically be Hillary supporters. But the reality is that even your close friends will not always agree with you or show up to support you in every venture. That is okay. I think that if the Clinton's had foreseen the possibility of people like Bill Richardson and others not supporting Hillary, that they could have done a better job of shoring up the ranks amongst those they assumed were on board. Never assume you know how people will vote when given the chance.
Life is not about popularity. Hillary's campaign loves to point out that she won the "popular vote". So what. It is the delegate count that matters. You can create your own rules and your own math all day long, but if it is not how the game is played...then who cares. I thought that we learned this lesson from Al Gore. Think about networking the same way. It is not about how many people you have as "friends" on Facebook or LinkedIn, it is about how many of those people will really make a difference in your life. Quality of those in your life is more important than quantity.
Stay true to yourself or people will notice. While campaigning it was often noted that Hillary would change the accent in her voice to mirror the region of the country where she was speaking. I am not sure if this was on purpose, or is she just did this by accident, ... but by appearing to shift herself to fit each situation it made many question her credibility. When networking, just be yourself. Not everyone will like you, and that is okay.
Know when to go home. Hillary came very close to not making a graceful exit from the race. Had she chosen to take the fight to the August convention she would have been giving a great gift to John McCain. Petty bickering over "super delegates" would have weakened Obama's shot at victory. The facts were clear for weeks that the party was over on her bid for the top office in the land. Bummer for her I am sure, but not worth derailing the Democrat's shot. When you are building a network and a professional reputation you have to remember that not everything is about you. Sometimes you have to step aside and let the other person have the brass ring.
Have A Great Day.