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This week I went to see the excellent play A British Subject at the Arts Theatre in London. It’s a classic tale of miscarriage of justice and forgetting inconvenient truths in the name of realpolitik . It is based on the true story of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a Leeds resident who spent 18 years on death row in Pakistan. The main actress is also the author and real life protagonist of the case. This is a transfer from Edinburgh’s Fringe that has not suffered from the rewriting for a West End format. All four actors are excellent; here is a review So what does this play have to do with networking skills? Well, once the journalists on the case have exhausted all the logical avenues and hit every possible wall, they pause to think and actually reverse the problem. If you have ever done the ‘who do you want to meet?’ exercise on one of our courses, you will be familiar with the thinking. In this case they need to get to Pervez Musharraf, the then President who is the only person who can grant a pardon. How do you get to him, well you try and think who knows him. The journalists focus on Prince Charles and, having identified a way to him, next think of an angle that will possibly prompt him into action. Although we know that there is happy ending of sorts, I won’t reveal more as the process is truly fascinating. Networking is a key leadership skill that takes many forms. Fortunately is will rarely be as critical as for Mirza Hussain, but it is well worth developing the networking reflex: the open-minded attitude that can get you to anyone in the world with just a couple of links.

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