02/10/2014 04:12 pm ET Updated 4 days ago

Shoot for the One Good Thing on LinkedIn

There is a popular saying that it only takes one: one person to make a difference or change your life, one smile to stop a thousand tears and one negative comment to kill a dream. In some instances, the "one" is the definitive, the be-all and end-all. In other cases, it is the precursor to something greater, just the tip of the iceberg. Some spend their whole lives searching for the one; for others, it appears right in front of them when they least expect it. Regardless of how or when it happens, the discovery of the one implies a point in a quest that either stops there or moves forward to the "next one."

There are millions of interested users on LinkedIn who have not yet witnessed or harnessed the power of this amazing platform. They have tinkered with their LinkedIn profiles, amassed a sizable network, even played in the LinkedIn groups, but have yet to move the financial needle. For these folks, the honeymoon has long been over. They want to know if and how LinkedIn can truly produce new business or help them find a job. I submit that all they need, and all it takes, is for one good thing to happen.

One good thing on LinkedIn can open up a world of possibilities.

♦ One conversation can transform your career
♦ One connection can lead you to a stream of transactions
♦ One LinkedIn profile tweak can change how others perceive you

The one good thing strategy is paramount in my work with clients. Many come to me completely bewildered with respect to LinkedIn. For some, it is not for lack of trying. I want them to quickly obtain their evidence that LinkedIn works. We define and prioritize their objectives, map out the best route for achieving them and steadily advance toward that first good thing. By staying grounded in the process, they start to piece together positive experiences on the site. And when they get it, and they will, well the game changes. Momentum is on their side.

Here is your three-point plan for making that one good thing happen on LinkedIn:

1). Envision a Positive Outcome

Those who know me know that I am a huge proponent of visualization. You conceptualize your own success on LinkedIn, and achieve it through mindset, application and repetition. Start with the endgame in mind, and wrap around it. Set up your LinkedIn profile for the outcome you desire and see yourself exclusively in that context. Are you looking to get a job? Do you want to sell more products or services? Do you want to build a thought leadership platform? Next, define your rules of engagement. Nothing, I assure you, can happen on LinkedIn until you manipulate your environment in some way; nor can you reap the benefit from your site experiences until you change your behavior. In business, especially social business, autonomy breeds creativity. Give yourself the room to roam and freedom to fail. The magic of a proactive approach to making good things happen is that you find a way to communicate your objectives more effectively across all situations. You will start meeting the people who can help you (and you can help).

2). Become Accountable in Pursuing that Outcome

Many people look at LinkedIn as a time-suck, or something that they feel trapped into doing. ("I'm on LinkedIn, because the company says that I have to be on LinkedIn.") No one is holding them accountable. Hopefully, this is not the case with you.Accountability in social networking is predicated on ethics, etiquette and self-governance. Your peers -- the ones who are reaping the rewards of using LinkedIn -- are working it every day in every way. They have made the conscious choice to participate on the site, willing to trade their time and attention for the privilege of remaining relevant with their colleagues and competitive in their markets. How you look on LinkedIn and how you comport yourself in your online interactions will have far-reaching implications in your ability to achieve a professional goal. And when it comes to succeeding on LinkedIn, you cannot delegate. Your personal brand is at stake. Understand that you have a place in LinkedIn society and own it.

3). Do Not Veer From Achieving That Outcome

There is no LinkedIn strategy more powerful than your resolve. Ya gotta bring laser-focus and enthusiasm to each session, regardless of how much time you spend in front of your screen. If you allow yourself to get sidetracked -- and we know that can easily happen these days -- then you will not attend to what matters and your vision of the outcome blurs. Many users have a preconditioned belief that LinkedIn can work with the least amount of time and effort. And that is exactly what they invest. Their sessions are limited, half-hearted and unproductive. Then they complain that the site is not bearing fruit. So they abstain, take a LinkedIn sabbatical, or deflect blame as they go in search of yet another shortcut. Eventually, their various realities and daily distractions catch up to them and they never return to the site with the same vigor. You must not waver in your pursuit of the one good thing. Embolden yourself -- in both how you present in your LinkedIn profile and the manner in which you reach out to others -- even if you feel deflated or defeated. It is temporary. Things will change for the better, if you let them.

Parting Thoughts

Success in using LinkedIn is incremental. It is the classic snowball effect: You start small, roll forward, pick up steam, grow exponentially and become an unstoppable force. It all springs from and can be traced back to that first and seemingly insignificant element, thought or action -- something you observed, an idea you generated or how you responded. The good thing can come serendipitously, literally from out of the blue. (On LinkedIn, there is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.) And what will you do when you get that first good thing on LinkedIn? Stop there? Heck no! You're going to go back to the well to try and find the next good thing. As it is often said, an avalanche starts with a single snowflake.