Monday, April 11, 2011

Get Your Skin On!

Skin in the game = buying in, having something at stake, a personal passion or intense desire to make things happen.  I think that everyone wants to network and be part of something bigger than themselves but I don’t think a lot of Youth Workers have a lot of skin in the game.

Skin, Time, YW Networking
I have a couple of truisms I’ve developed over the years about networking.
1.      1.  People want to network
2.      2.  People consider networking important but not urgent
3.      3.  YW Networking by definition and action are misunderstood
4.      4.  People are more inclined to network in the face of a personal social interaction

What is NOT factored into the above is TIME.  Not considering that, networking looks like a no brainer activity that everyone is clamoring to be part of; sadly that is not the case.  I would have to say that most Youth Workers don’t network and of those that do, half attend monthly meetings regularly and the other half attend twice a year.  What makes the bi-annual attendees attend less is that they feel out of touch with the heartbeat of the group and end up attending less and eventually just falling away.

So I think people would be more inclined to valuate networking more if they had more skin in the game.
Here is how to get your skin on
1.  Commit – that’s it, make it a point, a high priority to attend local networking meetings.  In fact, tell everyone at the next meeting that you are committed and will be at every meeting through the end of the year.  You will either be at them or
2.  Schedule – put it in, write it down, set an alarm and make it happen.
3.  Culpability – I really mean accountability but wanted to use a different word so people would read this without just glancing by.  If you make yourself accountable to someone to be there, you probably will.
4.  Leadership – if you are involved at the leadership level people depend on you and you have not only skin in the game and not only a cool unofficial title like “Mr Local Network Cool Guy That Is There For Others” (MLNCGTITFO for short) BUT you also make yourself available to help others and to be the one people look to. 
5.  Pay it forward – bring resources and swap them amongst the other attendees or buy a dozen books

In closing....

Our symbiotic relationship with others is like skin… it is probably more like wearing a tattoo than a Christian t shirt too.  So I’m going to be more purposeful in how I can stay skinned.  The comments below are more about managing others expectation and not so much the uplifting end to this, so read if you want, otherwise, this is.... 

The End

How Much Skin Can I Expect Other to Have in the Game?
Every person and situation is different but once there is agreement, 100% of that agreement should be fulfilled.   Also the context here is Youth Worker Networking so the comments below build on that. Big factors are time and money but there are others.
Here is what I think a person can volunteer and how effective they can be.
1-2 hrs - Attend a monthly meeting
3-5 hrs - Plus help organize or lead the group and maybe contact a couple of other YW off line
10+ hrs - Plus be a resource to a geopraphic area
20+ hrs - This should be reserved for staff; no one has this much time to volunteer??

Leadership should be very aware of how much they ask people to give and also what they ask them to do (it must be important).


Gabe Smith said...

I love meeting with other ministry workers, but I'm usually waiting for someone else to make the invite. I hardly ever turn someone down if they want to get together. I guess I just needto take the initiative and get things going on my own.

Rawdbee said...

thanks g. you are very much a networker and i've seen your social capital grown in the short time we've known each other.

i challenge you to stir it up more.

appreciate ya.