Do our networks have the power to change the way we think? Recent webinar hosts Cassaundra and Kristin would argue yes. In fact, networks shape how we process information, approach opportunities, and evaluate critical resources.
Then it’s no surprise that those who are “good” at networking (i.e. develop effective networks) experience accelerated career mobility, higher performance, and greater success in complex and dynamic workplaces. But what makes a good networker?
In Network Leader’s latest webinar with Cassaundra Brownell and Kristin Cullen-Lester, the two discussed strategies for building better, more effective career networks.
Here are the top tips they recommend from our live chat, which you can revisit here.
It turns out that one of the best times to leverage and capitalize on your network is during a role transition. During this time, it's especially beneficial to you, and your organization, to become a “fast mover”—one who transitions quickly and assimilates their networks to the new culture.
Here’s what Kristin and Cassaundra recommend for fast movers.
Expand your network by asking people questions that help uncover critical connections within the organization. This helps you more deeply understand unwritten rules and norms.
Show curiosity, learn about your colleagues, and resist the urge to focus solely on yourself and self-promotion. By understanding others, you can tailor your messages and deliver value effectively.
You create a pull effect when you make genuine effort to know your colleagues and demonstrate your own values based on their needs. This draws others toward you and your ideas.
Recognize that transitions may create gaps in skills and knowledge, and use your network to help fill the spaces.
You can encourage a network mindset by recognizing that networks are dynamic and require ongoing effort and intentionality.
One simple, yet effective way to learn more about your organization is to listen in on colleagues’ calls. Though somewhat contrary to the idea of fast movers, network development should happen more gradually over time.
Here’s how to use that time to incorporate networks into your ongoing practice of leadership development.
First, analyze the current state of your network to understand its strengths and weaknesses. Then you can set your network development goals.
Set clear goals that guide your efforts to improve the quality of your networks. These goals should align with your career and organizational objectives.
Develop a strategy for achieving your network development goals. It should incorporate network development into your daily work activities and interactions.
Periodically measure the impact of your network development efforts. Reflect on progress made, adjust strategies as needed, and ensure ongoing network development.
While Network Leader continues to gather more extensive, organizational-level data, and partner with organizations who are open to collecting such data, there is no denying the essential nature of intentional network-building in overall career growth.
And the best way to do that, as Kristin and Cassaundra discussed, is by developing effective networks “in the flow of work”—gradually, consistently, and intentionally.