Successful Networking – How To Grow And Leverage Your Executive Network – Podcast | S2:E5

by Versique

Today we welcomed our first guest to the show, George Murray. As an expert networker and presenter, George discusses the power of networking, sharing strategies and tactics on how to be successful in any situation. As an executive, networking isn’t just for when you are searching for your next opportunity, it’s a way to establish your reputation, exchange knowledge, and is a way to keep your recruiting pipeline full.

George Murray is currently the VP, Operations & Corporate Officer for Rudolph Technologies a $600M-publicly traded semiconductor equipment manufacturer. He found himself in two transitions in less than three years. During this time, he developed a proven “Day in the Life” process for successful networking that he discusses further in this episode. Through his experience, George now also consults for businesses that are looking for strategic growth, profitability improvement, and/or culture improvements.

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Podcast Transcription – S2:E5

 

Speaker_1: 00:01 Get ready for your weekly dose of talent strategies and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
Speaker_3: 00:30 Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh and this show is for business owners, board members and executives, exploring strategies and tactics to attract, select and retain the very best. If you’re not feeling a hundred percent confident that you have a plan to find the very best, keep listening, this podcast will help you get there. That said, I’d like to bring in the ever loving Scott Peterson.
Speaker_4: 00:53 Well, I always get a different introduction every week. There’s so much to you. Oh, it’s just, it’s amazing.
Speaker_3: 00:59 Well, today we are honored to bring in our first guest speaker. Why don’t you introduce them?
Speaker_4: 01:05 Great first day for us in terms of having a guest on our podcast today, I met a gentleman named George Murray a few weeks ago and he had a wonderful story about networking and the power of networking. And as you remember last week we had an episode on active recruiting, or excuse me, active networking and what that means and how to do it, which, which led me to think about George and our conversation that we’ve had a couple of weeks ago. So let me introduce George real quick and then I’ll let George jump into his story and what he experienced about networking over the last couple of years. George is currently the Vice President of Operations and corporate officer for Rudolph Technologies. It’s about a $600 million publicly traded semiconductor equipment manufacturer with global manufacturing and multi-site operations. You must be busy, George.
Speaker_3: 01:53 A Little bit.
Speaker_4: 01:55 He found himself in two job transitions over the last three years. The first one was a 13-month long transition late towards his first transition he developed what he calls a day in a life process. This is one of the topics which he speaks about on the accelerated his ability to land his second job much quicker. So the second time that he was in transition, that was about a six month transition. So we talked about how to be aggressive and successful in your networking process. George also consults for businesses who are looking for strategic growth, profitability improvement or culture improvement. So welcome to our podcast, George.
Speaker_3: 02:33 Well thank you. And I’m very humbled and honored.
Speaker_4: 02:36 Excellent. Well, as we discussed over coffee a couple of weeks ago, George, I really thought it was an interesting story that we could share with our listeners. So tell us about your job transition and what it meant to get into what we call that active networking.
Speaker_3: 02:51 I would say like most executives that I meet each week now, I was kind of like that deer in a headlight look. I didn’t know what I didn’t know
Speaker_5: 03:00 and I was very fortunate to meet a lot of great people early on that kind of set a path for me. All had very good tidbits of information and just about seven months into my 13 month transition I created, you know, this day in a life, there’s certain things throughout the period of the day that will make you more successful in order to land. A lot of that is contingent about networking into your next opportunity if you’re a professional person. So that was really the gist of it the first seven months I kind of went around and networked with some, I consider Uber networkers out there, like the Greg Rise, Jenny Jefferds, the Lenny Newman of the world out there. And they basically gave me those tidbits and I kind of put it all in a little bag of tools and then just created what I would consider the day in life. It’s starts off in the morning. I think, you know, when you’re in transition you really have to be on your game all the time. And a part of that is really being motivated because t
Speaker_4: 04:03 Did you find it difficult to top plan your day, your week and your month when you don’t have quote unquote anything to do from a job standpoint?
Speaker_5: 04:13 Yeah, I agree. That’s a great question. I think everybody, including myself, you know, there’s no book for it, right? Or if the book, it’s 400 pages, right? Nobody wants to read 400 pages. So I think one of the things that I was able to clarify was, is that first and foremost you have to, you know, have to be positive. You have to show up, you have to be what I would consider dressed to the nines. A one person in transition that really resonated throughout my transition. He was in transition himself was Mark Steen . I was always in a suit, always in a tie. I always had a positive attitude and I said, you know, part of the branding process, you know, is how you come and show up.
Speaker_4: 04:58 Excellent! So, tell us about, you know, what did that look like? Meaning how many people did you meet a week when you really developed the process, when I was fully kind of baked into your daily life, how many people are you seeing to help you network to that next opportunity?
Speaker_5: 05:14 Yeah, I would say probably about the seven month mark. In my first transition, I moved all the way up to probably about five to seven a day. Wow. Did people say, yeah, that’s the first response I get. Wow. And a lot of people are in transition. What else do you have? You really have it’s work. I mean it’s literally the hardest job you have because you have all this effort in your gut. You’re not getting any type of return on investment. You don’t know if you’re 50 steps closer that are 500 set closer to your next opportunity. So how did you determine like who you should be networking with? I mean, could you can network, but if it’s not going to continuously push you forward to that finish line, you know,
Speaker_3: 05:58 Should I meet with these five? Are those five?
Speaker_5: 06:00 Sure. Oh that’s another great question. I would say first and foremost, when you’re out there, you want to get maximum exposure. One of the people that I was networking with really told me early on, you know, you’ve got great skill sets, but so do other 48 people and they’ve already been out there six or seven months, so you really got to up your game. So I really kind of took a shotgun approach and said, I’ll meet with anybody that’s willing to meet with me. You know, the first three months, especially at my second transition, it was just get maximum exposure and then it’s, you know, take the shotgun and put it away, take out the rifle and kind of put what I would consider to swim lanes. Mine were swim lanes was the first one, you know, an executive looking for, you know, 50 to $250 million company but sore a lot. Sure. Right. So I sit my other swim lane that I’m seeing more traction and is broken down into three categories. First, it’s CEO’s, board members, decision business owners,
Speaker_3: 07:15 Yeah. Well I think it’s an important piece when to know and have your elevator speech of what you’re looking for. Cause I think by nature most people want to help. But if you so broad, they don’t, you’re not giving them something to really think about when they probably know two or three people that you should talk to. But you got to tell them what you, who you want to talk to.
Speaker_5: 07:36 Oh, exactly. Yeah. I mean I think, you know, one of the things that didn’t roll off my tongue is the whole elevator pitch. And we had had this conversation when we met elevator pitches are basically a lot of history about what you’ve done. And I think it’s forcing the listener or the person that you’re meaning to try to understand, well how does that relate to maybe some of the needs? And what I did was, because we live in a very short attention span society, I created what I call the value proposition statement. It’s got to be two or three lines less than 30 seconds. What makes you different than anybody else? So instead of all about me, it’s what skills I have that actually can impact you and influence your business. You know? And mine was always, you know, how do I hit them in their pockets? My response is always three of the four pockets, you know, I’m an executive looking to drive a flat to declining businesses in a positive nature, both top and bottom line while injecting a more
Speaker_4: 08:56 started it was a bit clunky, not very polished and then you probably came much better at your hit rate in terms of am sending an email or an in-mail out to a CEO in the early days, your percentage of is probably a lot lower than later. What was your message to these, to those groups that resonated with them that said, sure, I’d love to meet this guy. He sounds dynamic and I’m, I want to help this guy the best I can. I might not have a job, but I might know somebody that does. Sure.
Speaker_5: 09:28 I would say actually I was challenged by one of the people that I consider my personal board of advisors. Each couple of weeks I sat down with these individuals and they were basically held me accountable. Right. And they also gave me opportunities to feed my network. So one of the days where we’re sitting down, the individual said, what can you do differently? Because certain things have stagnated. Right? And that was kind of another tool I’ve put in my belt. This is that every three to four weeks you should have that stop, start, continue model, what’s working, continue to do, start something new that you know, might hit. And one of the things was is actually cold call CEO’s. I didn’t believe that. I’m an ops guy and my sales guy, it took me quite a while. It took me about three hours to say, okay, if I’m a CEO and I’m going to get a message, it’s got to be short, concise.
Speaker_5: 10:19 Until the point I selected 10 CEO’s in the metro area. And ironically enough, Doug Baker of Eco-lab was the first CEO to respond in two days. I mean, and I was literally blown away and my message to him on his phone was, Doug, this is George Murray recently transitioning executive Brought a company from 102 hundred to 80 million, you know, within 18 months I’m looking to network in the medium to large business community. Would love your advice. 22 seconds. And ironically enough, he called me back two days later and I was not prepared to say the least very awkward start to the conversation. But uh, obviously something
Speaker_4: 11:02 resonated with him about that statement. Right. He obviously heard you say something completely different than the other message he’s getting, because you know he’s getting them or not. An admin probably was filtering but she put that one through or allow that one to get through or you know what I mean? So
Speaker_5: 11:19 yeah, you hit the mark. He had stated to me out of many, many messages, I was one of the few that was left on the answering machine from his admin and he said, you know, powerful message. I would keep it, encourage you, and gave me his email and said, you know, I’d do anything to help you. And ironically enough through my transition, he reached out a couple of times checkup. That’s really Kudos. Yeah, absolutely. So, tell us about your journey that landed you in your current job, all the networking. How did it ultimately help landed at Rudolph Technologies? I would say the majority of my opportunities leading up to Rudolph was all through networking. I was in five final rounds of interviews. Rudolph was one of them and Rudolph was the only one. I went direct to the CEO and a couple days later he called me right with a similar message and six or seven weeks later I got an offer.
Speaker_5: 12:19 The other four were all introductions, you know, four or five strings of introductions. Actually, one of them was from Doug Baker and the contacts that we created over the time. That’s how I just reached out. I left a message to Mike said, here’s my value proposition statement. Two days later he calls me and said, listen, you’re a little bit behind in the interviewing process. We need an extra day to CFO’s coming in next week and like I’ll be there and I went through the final rounds and the offer. This will great company, great people, great culture. Yeah, I made the right choice. Awesome. So now that you, I have done all this networking you have is you’ve developed this, this network of people through all of your transitions. How are you utilizing that network and applying it to in your job today?
Speaker_5: 13:13 I would say first and foremost it’s that personal board of advisors. I still reach out to them very periodically. You know, some, a couple of weeks, actually one’s a CEO in the metropolitan area that we’ve developed over time and I’ve talked to them quite frequently, every three to four weeks. So last time I talked to him, you’re stepping off the plane in Dubai. I was going. So I just think that that you, you should be able to create that because that can also hold you accountable in transition because you can get a little lazy if you don’t have people that holding me accountable and having those metrics in place. And then the other thing is from that resource perspective is, is that when you have challenges in a business that you may not want to share with your peer group or your boss or whatever, and you can use them as a sounding board. Right? Absolutely. So, and then I just think that when you’re landed, you really need to keep that refreshed and that, you know, continuing to do,
Speaker_5: 14:10 And then one of the things that does, Steve Stope, another great Uber networker gave me said, you know, every two to three years, just send a really quick update, you know, a couple of lines of what you’ve been doing, a couple lines of what you may need help with or whatever. And that really just keeps your, you know, your network alive and well because a lot of times we get in heads down and the next thing we know we find ourselves out and it takes about six or seven months to start that networking group back up again.
Speaker_4: 14:37 So that’s a good segue and if, if I’m an executive or really anybody that is in a current, in a current role and not really looking for an opportunity, we know at this day and age things change quickly. Companies get sold, you know, mergers, acquisitions. What would you give advice to those people out there listening to these two or three things that they could do today while they’re in their job to help them activate that network if that transition time and they weren’t expecting it?
Speaker_5: 15:10 Well, I mean, if you’re in a job, you have customers, you have suppliers, reach out to them. You don’t have just a meeting with them, you know, coffee is, and talk about something outside of work and then just get that common connection. Great Book for anybody who’s not been in transition. First of all is The 20?Minute Networking Meeting by Marcia Ballinger, right? That’s a good baseline. But what I did was, is I manage that, that networking time all the way down to the 70 30 split. Let them talk 70% of the time. Really, truly, you know, the networking meeting, it will get you the meeting, but you got to find a way to truly connect. So do a little bit of homework and try to find out, you know, how do you connect with that person because that’s really where the glue is and that’s where you can turn around and work a really great relationship. A prime example, Dan Albertson, he’s another one. It’s out there. He, over the course of time we connected and we found a really good connection
Speaker_4: 16:17 Yeah. Because I think we as a search firm sort of take it for granted because we network every day for our job. Right? And so when someone is transitioning, we go, we just assume that they should know what to do. Like yeah, you just start reaching out to people who start making those connections. Just aren’t making it real. Whether it’s swimming or volleyball or other, other past times, golf is a big one that makes connections. So those are great opportunities for people to connect on a much more personal level that will help you drive to a more professional level opportunity.
Speaker_5: 16:50 Exactly. Awesome. Well, George, this has been awesome having you here and given all that advice, I mean, I think it, it’s something that you can’t take for granted, whether you’re in a job now and just build that personal board of advisors through networking or obviously it could be that safety net. If you, you, the executive does find themselves in, in transition. You got a little bit of a head start if you, if you’re doing it now while you’re currently employed. So there’s, there’s no, no negatives about networking. It’s about finding the time and being disciplined.
Speaker_4: 17:23 I love the, the personal board of Advisors. I think we all sort of have them, I didn’t really put that sort of thought around them because they’re our go to people in my life that I go to with questions about business or personal, whatever it might be. So that’s personal board of advisors. I like that sort of terminology in that I think that’s a great takeaway for people to make sure that they have that an active portion board of advisors in their life. Yeah, absolutely.
Speaker_3: 17:50 Well, thanks again, George for coming in and that’ll be a wrap on this episode. For our listeners as always if you want to get a hold of Scott, you can look them up on LinkedIn or go out and visit versique.com and you can get all his contact information. And again, if you’re a first time listener and like what you heard, you can find our podcast channel out on Apple, Spotify, Google play, all your favorite podcast channels. So go out and subscribe if you like what you hear. And again, George, thanks for taking the time today. It’s been great information and we will talk to everybody soon.
Speaker_2: 18:30 Okay, we’ll talk soon.

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