This blog comes from a family vacation several years ago. We took a multi-day tour of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia on a small ship. The first night we noticed that the anchor being used to secure our small ship in the middle of the vast Coral Sea was quite small compared with the size of the ship itself. The sight of this seemingly inadequate anchor piqued our interest.
The second night of our voyage, while we were anchored off Hope Island, some very strong winds began to kick up. In response, our captain decided to start the engines and back the ship up, allowing more of the anchor chain to be let out. We were curious, and admittedly a bit concerned, which led us to ask the captain how it was possible for such a modest anchor to hold the ship in place against the relentless wind gusts.
The captain’s explanation was profound and carried a valuable lesson. “It’s the chain that is holding the ship, not the anchor,” he informed us. Apparently, after the anchor is lowered, the captain receives signals from the first mate, who is stationed at the prow of the ship, indicating the direction in which the chain is positioned on the sea bottom. The captain can then maneuver accordingly and release the appropriate length of chain to maintain stability considering the particular conditions at that time.
That night, with the winds growing stronger, the captain realized that he needed to let out more of the chain to keep us steady, which he did.
The Anchor Represents the Process
The relevance of this maritime analogy to business networking groups became unmistakable. In networking groups, the anchor represents the system or the process through which business is conducted. However, the strength of a networking group is not solely determined by the anchor (the system/process) itself. Instead, it hinges on the quality and depth of relationships formed among its members.
Let’s apply this insight to your networking group. Think of the relationships you have established with other members as the links in the chain. How many “links” do you have in your chain? Do you have strong and solid relationships with all of the other members in the group? Or are you closely linked with solid connections to some members and less connected or detached from others for various reasons?
How do we go about adding more links – building more relationships – so we can let out more chain during times when the economic winds have strengthened against our businesses? We need to be intentional about developing stronger relationships with every member of our networking group, even those who may not seem to have the exact contacts or businesses that align perfectly with ours.
Naturally, we tend to build relationships more easily with businesses closely related to our own. But what about those members whose businesses appear unrelated or disconnected from ours, those who may seem incapable of providing referrals that match our needs?
Add More Links to Your Chain
This is where one-to-one meetings come into play. Scheduling one-to-one meetings with every member of your networking group is a proactive approach to extend and reinforce the chain of relationships. Each member is a link in the chain, and expanding these connections is critical. Investing your time in one-to-one meetings with each and every member of your group helps you develop a longer and stronger chain of relationships. Remember, each person in your networking group is one of the links that lengthens that chain.
The wisdom of extending the chain to enhance the anchor’s ability to hold steady is vital for the success of your networking group. As we embark on this journey, let’s make it our primary objective to cultivate and strengthen our relationship chain within our networking groups. Rest assured, it will serve as the anchor for your business and your group, ensuring longevity and resilience, regardless of economic fluctuations.
We can learn a profound lesson from a small anchor in the Coral Sea – the strength of your networking group lies in the quality and number of relationships you build within it. Just as the chain, not the anchor, secures the ship, your network of relationships is what will anchor your business through both fair winds and storms. So, let’s start strengthening our relationship chains today for future networking success.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comment section below.