There are three basic professional worlds that I live in: Professional Services/Accounting; Events/Association; and Social Media/Technology. For the most part, the people who I meet in these worlds don’t intersect all that often. There is some cross-over, but in general, I have daily exposure to people that all have very different values and different perspectives.
I find that what I learn in one “world” can easily be applied to the other world and I often share my experiences across industries. The thing that surprises is me is how many people are so tied to the one industry that they “live” in that they don’t have time to explore other universes. The result of this is that they are often struggling for creativity and new ideas.
In my early career, I worked for an industrial company that made structural steel warehouse racking. There was an entire association related to this type of business? Who knew? I learned that there are so many obscure businesses out there and of course, there is an association for every one of them. The funny thing is, that when I made the transition from steel to accounting, I was able to transfer a lot of the real world knowledge that I had gain. This was especially true for some of the networking skills that I had learned. Even though racks and taxes have little in common, the business skills were the same.
Okay, so what’s my point? The point is that there is a lot that can be gained by extending your network outside of your industry. There is a lot of knowledge that can be learned by reading books that are specific to other industries or that are as general as you can get. Sometimes we are seeking so much value in the relationships that we are trying to build that tend to over analyze what events we attend based on a desired outcome. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be strategic and that we shouldn’t got to events that will bring us strong business opportunities, I am simply suggesting that we mix it up and to see where we can learn from different people and different businesses. You never know where your next big idea will come from.
Do you agree? Disagree? Who do you learn from?