11 Chapters
Medium 9781576754627

7: Tapping Organizational Networks

Dulworth, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

If you are well along in your career, are happy with your progress, and see a bright future in the organization where you work, you may think that networking is not important for you professionally. After all, you’re advancing at a good pace and don’t feel the need to seek out opportunities outside your organization—you know where you’re going. You may think the best thing for you would be to keep your head down and focus on your job: if you shine at your job, you’ll get the next promotion that much quicker. Spending time networking would just be a distraction. You might think that, but if you do, you could be heading for a tumble.

The fact is that every organization has networks, often hard to spot, that are separate and distinct from those shown on the official organizational chart. The organizational chart shows you who does what and who reports to whom, but it doesn’t show you who talks to whom, who knows what, and how the work 103actually gets done. Politics also plays a role in the life of every organization and often profoundly affects the decisions that get made—and politics most often flows along networks.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754627

4: What’s Your Personal Brand?

Dulworth, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Do you know what your personal brand is? Did you even realize that you have a personal brand? Of course, you know companies have brands: Tiffany’s is upscale, with the accent on luxury. Wal-Mart’s is down-to-earth, focused on low prices. Even cities have brands: New York is the Big Apple, while Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. And people have brands too—think Trump, Oprah, and Tiger Woods.

But you don’t have to be a television star to have a brand. You are famous within your own network. People within your network recognize you instantly. And within your network, you have a personal brand. Your brand is, to use an older word, your reputation. It’s how people know you, what they have heard about you, what they think about you.

Your personal brand isn’t how you see yourself; it is how others see you. We can see this most clearly in public figures such as politicians. They work very hard to define themselves, to control the message, their personal brand—but public perceptions win out in the end. The fact is that our brands—our reputations—are rarely the result of the image we try to project but of our actual behavior (which is why people in the public eye often get in so much trouble). Your personal brand isn’t a fake persona or mask you use when you network. It is the real you as others see the real you.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754627

9: Virtual Networking

Dulworth, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Virtual networking is the new frontier. In 2006, Time magazine’s Person of the Year was not the usual politician or philanthropist. Instead, the cover simply read, “You. Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”8 The premise was that individual user-generated content is growing dramatically and rapidly influencing society. People have begun turning to the Internet for a great deal of their regular activities, including social interaction on a number of levels.

In this chapter, we’ll take a brief look at this phenomenon and then discuss how you can take advantage of it. The virtual Connect Effect can put you in touch with any number of people who share interests similar to yours. We’ll also discuss virtual etiquette—the dos and don’ts of social networking.

My definition of virtual networking is any networking that is done with people you have never met face-to-face or the act of networking using interactions that are not face-to-face. This means that this form of networking could be done via mail, telephone, or fax. In actuality, these days, it’s done mainly over the Internet.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754627

6: Networking Peer-to-Peer

Dulworth, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We’re going to shift gears a bit now. We’ve been discussing ways to develop your networking skills and build your network. In the next few chapters, we’re going to focus on different types of networks. The peer-to-peer networks discussed in this particular chapter bridge organizational boundaries. Chapter 7 will focus on internal organization networks, and chapter 8 will discuss communities based on a common concern or passion: communities of practice.

While, by definition, peer-to-peer networks lack an important dimension of diversity (everyone has the same occupation), the trade-off is well worth it. As Jim Bolt, wrote in a recent article in Fast Company, “The central idea behind the effectiveness of peer-to-peer networks is this: We all learn better, trust more, and gravitate to the shared experiences of people at our level and in circumstances similar to ours. And, there is incredible value in being able to tap into the collective experience of a group of trusted peers.”4

When computer techies talk about peer-to-peer networks, they are referring to computer networks with no hierarchical structure: every computer is on the same footing. It’s the same 92when it comes to people: in your peer-to-peer network, you are with your equals. One reason that peer-to-peer networks are so effective is that they create a secure, open environment that helps accelerate learning and development. The network becomes a safe harbor for participants to freely discuss issues and challenges of individual and organizational importance with peers in organizations who have very similar positions and responsibilities.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754627

3: Building Your Network

Dulworth, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Most people are not very good networkers. I’ve come to this conclusion by talking with and watching the thousands of people I’ve come into contact with over the past twenty-five years. I also know that people can become better net-workers by following a few simple steps. And these guidelines are not what you read about in most books on networking—for example, “the five steps to working a room” or “get out there and join a lot of groups.” My advice and guidance, I hope, is much more practical and straightforward and can be weaved into a person’s daily life without becoming too time-consuming. Becoming a better networker is not rocket science, but it does require some different behaviors and actions than most people exhibit or practice.

In chapter 1, I described strong, powerful networks as having four key qualities: (1) quantity, (2) relationships, (3) diversity, and (4) quality. What do you get when you have a network with all these qualities? The tagline I use for my networking business sums it up: “The right people, the right conversations, the right time.”

See All Chapters

See All Chapters