Creo Quality has been in existence now for over seven years. Prior to starting this venture and for a couple years after, I spent a great deal of time networking and meeting people and companies whom I could assist and might assist CQ clients. I attended quite a few medical device and life science events in and around the region. I had quite a few phone conversations, coffee discussions, and lunch meetings during those years. My objective was to establish the most comprehensive network of medical device service providers in the Midwest. Some of the outcomes of these networking efforts include the establishment of ASQ Biomedical Midwest Discussion Group and the creation of the network organization INpact–of which I’ve had the honor to lead both of these organizations. Events from Biocrossroads, Indiana Health Industry Forum, and Indiana Medical Device Manufacturers Council were almost always added to my monthly calendar. Through these efforts, I was able to build a solid foundation of resources and contacts within the medical device industry.
And then, I took a bit of a hiatus from the networking scene. Convinced the foundation was strong enough, I set the cruise control and focused on client projects. From time to time, I needed to make a phone call or email to someone within my network to support projects. This was the routine for the next several years.
A little less than a year ago, there was a shift. I was managing product development efforts for a medical device startup. My ol’ reliable network was not as thorough and complete as it needed to be to completely support this client project. The client had needs and I suddenly found myself without an immediate solution to recommend. Panic set in for a couple days. I began to scramble. I made phone calls, did internet searches, and so on to try and locate possible solutions and resources to support the client needs. Yes, I did tap into my network as well, hoping to find recommendations and connections through my contacts. Fortunately, within a few days, I was in contact with new, possible resources and contacts who hopefully would be able to address the startup efforts.
My network once again began to grow a little larger. The startup and I made decisions on which resources to employ for the product development efforts. A new group of people and resources with whom I had just met were now part of our product development team. A new team of resources with whom I had to sort of relearn and refine my project management skills. Overall, the process has sharpened my skills. Additionally, it has reminded me that I can never rest when it comes to networking.
Okay, I’m less likely to attend larger events like I did many years ago. Instead, I’m a little more deliberate–more specific–about the types of resources and people I would like to meet and network with. I’m reminded by a colleague that every month, I MUST network at least a handful of times. Yes, I know the term “network” sounds a little impersonal. The gist, though, is that I need to stay connected.
This is important for you to remember too. It doesn’t matter if you work within a large corporation or if you think you have the best contacts in the world. It’s important to stay in touch with what’s going on and where you are headed. On this startup project, aside from the new core team, I’ve also met and interacted with quite a few other ancillary resources. These resources will be added to my network too.