Wendy Caverly, of Crusaders Networking and creator of the Networking Landscapes provides a new, strategic view of sincere professional connection. The Networking Landscapes clearly define the four common goals of professionals and the necessary skills to accomplish them with effective intention.
She is a leader in this emerging specialty, which by design, provides the agility needed to build long term success. With 20+ years of entrepreneurial and networking experience, including political campaigns, direct sales, small business operator and meeting facilitator, Wendy excels at coaching individuals on how this is a skill separate from selling and marketing.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Wendy Caverly: My name is Wendy C Caverly. Midwest friendly, born and raised in Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science and U.S. History. I enjoy traveling and having traveled overseas many times has given me a great appreciation for what makes every place and every person unique. I am willing to argue pizza is the ideal food group. I effortlessly balances being a cat lady and a dog mom. Both Thailand and Iceland are on the bucket list. I enjoy helping people see how amazing they are. Using humor and encouragement while coaching professionals on effectively connecting, I get to celebrate and be part of other peoples successes.
Speaking of coaching, my business Crusaders Networking was established in 2021, but Inspired by 2020. There is more about the inspiration below, so I thought here I would share why Crusaders? It’s a question I get frequently. A modern day crusader is someone who has faith that if they commit to the journey they will accomplish their goals. Without knowing the obstacles or challenges they might face, they still move forward. And along the way, true crusaders will meet others who will share their journey, even if they don’t share the same goal. A great crusader will find those who will stand at their side, at their back and help them overcome the unexpected and reach success. Networking is about sincere connection for long term success.
Wendy C Caverly, Crusaders Networking is the networking coach who hates the word networking.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Wendy Caverly: My business exists because of 2020. It was during that year, I realized what I coach, my area of expertise, sincere professional connection, was not default. And easy to ignore when things are good. But when the world stood still, I luckily already had a digital platform waiting for my clients. So we never missed a beat. All of my meetings I facilitated at the time, still met every single time that they were scheduled. My focus shifted to the future, we started talking about making plans. Why? Because while your competition is standing still waiting for permission, we are planning. So, when the lights come back on, we’re already in motion. I started talking with my network about this is why you build a network. I reinforced that this is why you took time to build a network, so you can lean into it when the unexpected happens. This is the difference between the unexpected being a crisis, and an inconvenience.
And that is the lesson I learned in the last two years, The best way to prepare for and weather the unexpected is to focus time and energy into building a professional network with sincere connections. One built with layers, because each layer adds depth, and depth creates a firm foundation to build on. The way businesses can thrive in 2022 is remember what has happened, how unexpected and devastating it was. And plan for the just in case.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Wendy Caverly: Yes, the disruptions continue and will continue. So when things get challenging, who do businesses and professionals turn to? Their network! Those trusted connections whom you already know, if you call on them, the answer is yes, how can I help? Those people who know you are there to support them as well. That is why focusing even just a little bit of time consistently over the years to building a network is key to professional survival. When the unexpected happened, and happens again, your network is what will make it an inconvenience, not a crisis.
You have a sales plan, you have a marketing plan, but do you have a networking plan? You should! It will help you get ahead of the next curve ball, the next unprecedented event. Act, not react.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Wendy Caverly: My business before was in-person only, contained by a realistic daily driving distance. I was reluctantly pushed into the digital world (I call it digital instead of virtual because the digital enviroment is real. It’s really happening in real time, virtual implies fake.) Pushed into the digital world against my will, but once I started taking advantage of it, I found the opportunities almost limitless.
Now I could connect with anyone in the world, I could work with anyone regardless of geography. My pool of potential clients extended from thousands to millions. Networking in person or online are exactly the same. With the same goals, to make a new connection and have a new conversation. The only barrier is in the mind of the person. And not just possible new clients, but new mentors, coaches, a new world of knowledge because of the digital world.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Wendy Caverly: Honestly, I don’t have an answer to this question. It sound dramatic but I and my business were forged in fire. I am a better professional because of it. I have a new direction that will be of value to people in a bigger and deeper way.
I guess if anything I wish I had saved a bit more, be more prepared for the devastating long term effects of government inflation. 🙂 Again, wish I did more than just see it coming, but planned to get ahead of it.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Wendy Caverly: The digital world is not going anywhere. It’s opened too many doors, it’s created too many opportunities to just stop. And with the increasing cost of living, gas, etc. I feel more people will remain, or choose to return to this platform. There is now a proven track record of how employees can and will perform without a manager standing over them, micro-managing them. And the cost savings for businesses from having a remote workforce is measurable as well.
In addition to the financial and business opportunities, I feel a lot of people over the last two years have realized how valuable their time is. They are asking themselves, what is the value in driving one, two or more hours for a single one hour meeting, when they can work remotely and be more productive in less time? Instead of a 9 hour work day, they can have a 6 hour work day and still complete everything. And for others like me, to be expected after all this time to return to only in-person, is the equivalent of asking me to work three times as many hours for the same pay. That is not an expectation anyone should feel is acceptable.
Have there been and will there be adjustments needed in the future? Yes. But as business professionals and entrepreneurs, we know adapting and evolving are requirements for success. This is just the latest adapting and evolving we need to succeed.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Wendy Caverly: Depends on the day. But right now I would say around 5-7 hours on work days.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Wendy Caverly: I coach, what people refer to as, networking. I created a strategic view of the skill as translated through networking landscapes. I am all about a good enology. And one of my favorite ways to express how networking is different from selling and marketing is to talk about the three skills as if they were the wheels on a tricycle. And the big wheel you peddle is whichever skill set you are best at. So if you are good at selling, you are still making forward progress because you are pushing the big wheel. But imagine how much farther, faster you could go if the two wheels behind you were also spinning.
Tulips and daffodils bloom in the spring, but they have to go in the ground in the fall. And just like the gardener never worries if they are wasting their time planting those bulbs, the expert networker knows the value of consistently planting the seeds of connection. Because they know they will reap a bountiful harvest in the future.
Have you ever walked face first into a spiderweb because you didn’t see it? Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. That is exactly what your professional network is, nearly invisible until you see it in the right light. And the best way to highlight your spiderweb is to explore it. You are far more connected than you realize.
Another one I am using starting this week is about being prepared for the unexpected. Or comparing the reason people should focus on building a network now.. For instance, I have a fire extinguisher under my kitchen sink. It doesn’t mean I expect a fire, it means I ready in case there is one. And even if there is never a need for it, I don’t regret having gotten a fire extinguisher. But I know, if needed, I would regret not have one.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Wendy Caverly: This could be an unpopular opinion. I see businesses and professionals, actively going back to 2019 business practices, very short sighted! People going back like nothing has happened tells me they didn’t learn the lesson the pandemic taught us. How many companies out there we not prepared for cold calling/door knocking to suddenly stop? How many businesses depend heavily on expos, conventions and trade shows for sales? Have they made a plan, a strategy in place in case it happens again? I am seeing the answer is No.
These are the same businesses that suddenly started calling or emailing their current and former clients, just to let client know the business is there for them. The business is here to support them. They literally waited until there was a true crisis to realize how important sincere connection, a relationship is for professional success. Something they should have been doing the whole time. And now, they’ve gone back to their old ways, ways that will not help them in the new business world.
Businesses in general are now at the whim of geopolitical changes. Never before has there been such a direct and immediate effect of government action on business. And they have told us a recession is coming. Getting a head of that should be the priority. And there is nothing wrong with making plans, preparing for the future and turning the next crisis into an inconvenience. Sales strategy, check. Marketing strategy, check. Networking strategy….”what’s that?” should not be the answer.
Networking as a sales tool is transparent and feels disingenuous. People are smart and have seen that before. No one likes feeling as if you are trying to connect with them because you want to pry open their wallet. The walls go up and your connection is lost. Change that.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Wendy Caverly: Image and branding. I’m working at attracting the attention of my ideal clients and those who know them by highlighting my value. Instead of yelling louder in an already loud world, I’m hoping to highlight how I’m different and maybe refreshing.
It’s strange how so much of life has become structured like ponsie schemes. The first few to do something different, like drip campaigns, NFTs, video marketing, subscribe to my channels, reap the benefits. And when the crowd follows suit, it just gets noisy again.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Wendy Caverly: I think certain subjects have become taboo to talk about in business, despite the fact they are the cause of the problems in the last 2 years. I’ll say them out loud, Covid-19, Government attempted mandates and corporations overstepping their bounds because of political correctness.
Employees and Businesses make an agreement.
The Employee agreed to:
- 1-working X amount of hours.
- 2-performing X duties.
- 3-for X amount of money.
That is where the employees agreement with the business begins AND ends. In recent years businesses, corporations and their government partnerships have pushed far far beyond that. They have overstepped their agreement, their boundaries. They have insisted they can tell an employee what they need to do with their body, their family time, their social media, how they live their life. Wrong. That employee made an agreement, which begins and ends with the above. They are not indentured servants, slaves or property. The business/corporation has zero rights to anything having to do with that employee beyond the agreement.
In addition, businesses/corporations continued insistence at enforcing proven failed policies, masks, shots and testing, shows the employee it’s about control of them, not health or safety. Telling employees, or punishing them because of their political or social opinions while the corporations scream loudly their political virtue signaling is hypocritical. And the employee sees it and they leave.
Businesses and corporations need to get out of politics and social issues. There is no winning, they are offending a demographic no matter what they do, which is bad for business. They should aim for neutrality, which they may find it far more inclusive when they try it.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Wendy Caverly: A business superpower? To see the measurable success clients will have so I can confidently make promises. Or to talk telepathically with networking friends at events.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Wendy Caverly: I currently have two separate businesses. Success to me would be by Christmas I have streamlined one business to free up the majority of my time to focus on coaching and public speaking engagements. I would like to start writing a book on The Networking Landscapes, and have it written in such a way others can teach from it. So in the future sincere professional connection will be something professionals can learn and focus on themselves. I never viewed success as working more hours, but control of the hours I do work. My goal is to feel I have created enough systems so I am working as much as needed to accomplish my goals but not working all the time. Consistent and growing income so everything else is comfortable.
Personally, I would also like to set myself up for some travel next year, and maybe moving to another state. Buying a hobby farm.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Wendy Caverly for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Wendy Caverly or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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