I am blessed with a network that brings me interesting problems to solve. Most of the project management and operations engineering work that I do is through a fractional leadership model. Relationships are of utmost importance. I used McGuffins to keep my network alive during the lockdowns. Here’s how this networking method works:
A McGuffin is a term attributed to Alfred Hitchcock. There must be a reason for a character to enter a scene. For a maid, it might be a tray of dishes to pick up.
In networking, a McGuffin is a reason to be in somebody’s in-box. Collect interesting articles in your field of work. Type up your notes from a conference or webinar. Better yet, blog or write LinkedIn posts. Build out an inventory of relevant content to share with your network.
Rotate your inventory of McGuffins regularly. Most McGuffins have a short shelf life although some topics are more evergreen than others.
McGuffins often can be recycled or repurposed. This blog is an expansion (embellishment?) of a LinkedIn post. In that post, I predicted that the content would eventually end up in a blog on my website…and here it is!
Send McGuffins out to your network at a respectful frequency. Your contacts may or may not respond every time but you will be building professional relationships.
Here are three examples of effective McGuffins:
In October of 2008, I attended an Association for Corporate Growth luncheon in New York. Of course, I took good notes and organized them in an easy-to-read outline format. In the dark time after the credit crunch, these topics were of great interest to the financial types in my network. This trip was booked months in advance…I got lucky!
This McGuffin is unusual in that it seems to have an unlimited shelf life. Jon Gertner wrote a prescient article in the New York Times on clean tech commercialization hurdles. Thirteen years later, these hurdles remain so the McGuffin is still relevant. I continue to share this well written article with my network. If you are interested, “Capitalism to the Rescue” is still a good read. Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/magazine/05Green-t.html
Years ago, I attended an MIT alumni event and the speaker was the prominent and outspoken economist Lester Thurow! Professor Thurow did not disappoint with his thought provoking perspectives on China, economic growth, and global warming. These notes were a welcome McGuffin.
Original content is still the best. It is hard to pick my favorite blog post but the one that I share most often is on applying two manufacturing concepts, Theory of Constraints and Lean Thinking, to the sales funnel. Who doesn’t want to convert more leads into more money faster? Click HERE for the rest of that story.
I did not invent the McGuffin. I learned of the technique in “Rain Making” by Ford Harding. I have had this book on my bookshelf for 25+ years and it has taught me much of what I know about building a network and developing business relationships.
And if you are wondering, yes, this blog is a McGuffin. 🙂