In your town, right now, there is a good old boy network firmly in place. I know this because there is a good old boy network in place in every town. Whether you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Clarksville, Texas, or Carrington, North Dakota, there is a group of men and women known locally — and not always affectionately — as the good old boys network.
There is a a supposition amongst the populace at large that the members of the good old boys network collude to make things happen. They do business together, give each other favorable terms and prices, and occasionally hand over items of great value in exchange for no money at all. They’re seen as the movers and shakers. A private club of sorts, known only to themselves. They are evil, or so the story goes. They are self-possessed and indifferent to the plight of the poor and downtrodden. They’re the elite.
How do I know this, you might ask. Well, that’s a very good question. And because you’re so nice and polite and read General Aviation News on a regular basis, I will tell you. I know how good old boy networks work because I am a member of one in my town. To the dismay of many, I’m sure, I’m quite proud of that membership.
Now, here is where I will break ranks with most of my peers and let you in on a little secret. It’s not a closed shop. There is no cap on a maximum membership. Typical good old boy networks would love to grow, to have more influence and power than they currently do. They are more than willing to welcome new members. In fact, they often seek them out.
Here’s the good part.If you’ve been frustrated that you’re on the outside looking in, or if you have the sense that nobody is listening to your concerns, or that they’re only paying you lip service when you come looking for a resolution to the ills of the world, there is hope. You can join that good old boy network.
That’s right. You read that correctly. If you’re of a mind to, you could easily become an insider, a valued member of the good old boy network. In days, certainly no more than a few weeks, you could become the kind of man or woman who can get things done with a wink and a nod. You’ll have connections, confidants, networking opportunities up the wazoo, and business advisors like you never dreamed.
And because I’m in a good mood, I’m going to tell you the four simple steps you need to take if you want to cross over from being a regular old ordinary Jane or Joe and become a member of the inner circle. And I’m not even going to charge you for it.
Listen up. All that separates you from the big time is four steps. Just four little things that you need to do to gain acceptance, trust, and respect from the people who make things run in your town. And I’m going to share them with you. It’s time. So hang on to your seat. This is no joke. I’m going to tell you how it really works and lay out the exact price of admission.
Step 1: Locate any member of the good old boy network. Male or female, high ranking or not. It makes no difference. Just locate one of the movers and shakers in your town and put yourself in a position to talk with them. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth conversation and the setting doesn’t have to be private. Just walk right up and be prepared to speak.
Step 2: Be aware of a project they are working on, either currently or in the future.
It doesn’t matter if this project is a bake sale to benefit the local Boys and Girls Club, or a fundraiser designed to funnel money to research into a cure for diabetes or HIV. It might even be a campaign to put signatures on a petition for a political cause. You don’t need a tremendous amount of insider knowledge. Club members do a lot of charity work and back non-profits. Just be aware of something they’re working on.
Step 3: As you stand before this pillar of the community, wear a smile and say these exact words, “I understand you’re involved in the (insert cause here). How can I help?”
If able, offer a firm, but not too firm handshake as you say these words. That would be ideal. If not, that’s okay. Not everybody likes to shake hands. But smile. Be pleasant. Be sincere.
Step 4: Accept the assignment you’re offered and complete it to the best of your ability.
Now I don’t mean complete it to the degree that’s convenient. There’s nothing about joining the good old boy network that’s convenient.
It’s hard work. Often involving nights and weekends. It may cause you to miss work for a few hours here and there. You may even have to travel a bit, or spend a few dollars out of pocket to make things happen.
But if you do these things, if you perform these four steps as I’ve described them, you will indeed become a member of the good old boy network fairly quickly. The harder you work, the more you apply yourself, the better you complete your assigned tasks, the quicker and more deeply ensconced in the club you will become.
Oh yes, there is a fifth step I neglected to mention.
Step 5: Repeat the process again and again until you become one of the go-to people who knows how to get things done.
Congratulations, you now know exactly what it takes to become a member of the good old boy network. I hope you follow through on all five steps. We could use a few more motivated insiders — and you would be just perfect.