For those of you not familiar with the term ‘ubuntu’, a quick Google search will show you two things. First, you’ll find an open-source operating system on Linux, then names like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela when you look for ‘ubuntu philosophy’. What these three have in common is based on an African concept of humanity and identity found in community. I do not exist without you.
“Networking is about building relationships.”
Western business philosophy promotes networking as a way of getting ahead. Thousands of articles, blogs, and presentations have been devoted to the subject, and many believe it is a critical factor in success. Without networking, you’ll get nowhere in business. With all of that, however, some people still don’t understand what it is about or how to effectively network. In its most basic form, networking is about building relationships. You network to build relationships with people who can help you accomplish your goals.
On the surface, therefore, Ubuntu and Networking appear to have quite a bit in common. They seem to both be about building relationships. Yet the main difference is what separates the two concepts at a fundamental level.
Ubuntu is a philosophy of love and connectedness that means we’re already linked on the basis of who we are – human beings. There is no agenda other than to support you in being who you are. There is no ulterior motive other than to give you an opportunity to be your most authentic self. I am because you are.
“The main difference is what separates the two concepts on a fundamental level.”
Networking, on the other hand, by its very nature is a selfish pursuit. I connect with you because I believe you can help me, and I’m willing to offer something in return. From a business perspective, there is nothing inherently wrong with networking, because it is based on fair exchange. However, networking does not promote togetherness beyond situations that are expressly beneficial to both parties, and the focus is never on the other person beyond what they can offer.
“Ubuntu – I am because you are.”
Ubuntu is an ancient philosophy from an ancient land that continues to pass its wisdom down to modern generations. Mastermind Leaders is building a community of businesses on the philosophy of Ubuntu. Imagine entrepreneurs working together to enhance each other’s skills, to guide and support each other’s growth, to listen, to fellowship, to exist. Imagine businesses buying and selling from each other, financially investing, standing in solidarity, creating an inclusive society. Imagine a better world. Ubuntu.
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Shelley-Ann Edwards-Barran is a writer, editor, writing coach, speaker, and advocate for better writing instruction. She is the CEO of WERD Coach Ltd., a company dedicated to helping writers at many levels – children, academics, authors.