Mr. Bigs Executive at Large business cartoon

Here is a quick non-numbered list of reasons why networking works in business and nice guys fail. And I’m not talking about LinkedIn or Facebook or any other social network on the Internet. I’m talking about person-to-person networking, through the illustrious annals of the corridors of power, connected through the world of executive offices, political office, and other places of high esteem.

Nice guys are overlooked. Generally, no one notices someone who makes himself unnoticed. If you want people to pay attention to you, the first thing you have to do is to be noticed, and offer them something worth paying for.

Suits are always networking, because that’s how they stay up on their golf game. And as everybody knows, in golf, the nice guy is the caddy, and the grumpy old men in fluorescent green and orange pants and argyle sweater vests are doing deals with each other, cutting up the world to be their private playground.

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Kindness is a weakness. Like it or not, being nice is not a common characteristic of alphas. Or did you just think it was a coincidence that every single company you’ve ever hated working for was led by a not-so-nice executive who spends his time hob-knobbing with other surly business leaders?

Nice guys are pre-judged as not having the right stuff to jump into the proverbial bed to close the deal with the customer. While it may seem unfair, can you really deny that the guys at the top are all-too-often happy to play the guy on the bottom, as long as they’re under the big, open bag of money?

Jerks seem to own the clique that runs industry. The real secret here is that in order to succeed in the long term, the jerks don’t hoist themselves by their own petard. In fact, it’s you and your lowly worker colleagues who put those fat cats up on the pedastal.

Nice guys make great friends. Business sharks who are always networking, on the hunt for their next meal, may make terrible friends, but they make terrible friends who keep the lights on, and the payroll paid, in that company where you and your friends work. That is, of course, until they mess up, and then lots of people lose their jobs, and everyone dislikes the executives even more; which also explains their massive bonuses when they lose tons of money and have to fire everyone.

Full disclosure: In addition to cartooning and taking on nameless men in suits with the full length and girth of his pens, Yasha Harari has worked for a number of start-ups and large companies in the U.S., Europe and Israel.

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