Diplomats are the only profession in humanity that produces nothing but resilient relationships. The task of a diplomat is to network his or her country with other nations as efficiently and effectively as possible. Starting from the respective capital of his or her host country, he or she has to establish trusting contacts with decision-makers and multipliers in a short period of time (usually within 3-4 years), or deepen existing contacts. Every meeting with others, every conversation, every visit to an event, every letter and every e-mail thus becomes part of an overall strategy. Anyone who has ever worked successfully as a diplomat can rightly claim to be one of the top networking professionals in the world. Because in diplomacy, the art of professional relationship building has been cultivated for a very long time.
What makes diplomats networking professionals?
Modern diplomacy as we know it, however, emerged in the early 14th century in northern Italy as the innovative power project of a mercenary: Francesco Sforza, a condottiere, had taken power in Milan with his troops in 1450. He knew that his political survival depended mainly on three things:
- to have as good relations as possible with the other powers of Europe, in order to be supported by them in his rise,
- to learn as quickly as possible of political and military developments that could be dangerous to him,
- to actively prevent the formation of alliances against him.
He does not know who could become important for him and his country. Therefore, he will very systematically join existing networks and build his own after analysing
A. what his current goals, his missions, are in the host country,
B. what the obstacles are to achieving the goals,
C. which are the most important networks in the host country
D. what are the specifics of the regional network culture.
Each of us is in the role of an ambassador. The country we represent is ourselves, or our company. If we learn the art that the Diplomatic Corps has been training for 500 years, our mission will be successful.