Build your network intentionally
Tell me, what is your network like at the moment?
I ask because this has been one of my biggest areas of learning throughout my career.
When I first started in management I thought it was all about how many people you knew. I tried to collect ‘names’ like I did stickers for my panini album back in the 1980s. (sidenote: who else loved a panini sticker book?)
But as time went on I realised that I wasn’t gaining anything from the majority of these connections. In fact, I was feeling overwhelmed with the sense of comparison, trying to fit in, and the noise created by all these different voices.
And I also realised that I wasn’t serving these connections very well either. With no common points of interest or aligned purpose, I had nothing of value to offer to some of these people.
No wonder I felt disconnected.
It was at this point I learnt about the edit and how to be intentional in the network I nurtured.
I focussed on the quality not the quantity.
I Marie Kondo’d my relationships, keeping close to those people that brought me joy and understanding that it’s ok to say farewell to those people who no longer served me.
This approach served me well through the rest of my corporate career and is now a fundamental part of my own business.
In fact, it’s one of the six areas I work with leaders on through my IMPACT framework. Helping them to map out who needs to be in their personal and wider networks — aligning it with their purpose and vision — and building that all-important trust and connection.
So, if your networks need a reset here are a few things to consider:
Knowing your networks
There isn’t just one kind of network at play, you may have a few including your:
- Personal support network — those who offer you a safe space
- People of influence network — the important relationships you need to nurture for your business
- Value-add network — they have an impact on you or your business, albeit less directly
- Don’t forget the role YOU might have in other people’s networks as well
And when looking at how you nurture and develop your network, think about:
- The purpose — aligning who and what you need
- The future — who is important to achieve your longer term goals?
- Looking beyond the immediate and normal — avoid creating an echo chamber
- How you work — do you prefer 1:1 or groups, what might stretching your comfort zone look like?
- Being honest with yourself about what’s adding value and what’s hindering you — don’t be afraid of changing who is in your network.
If you need a helping hand (or a safe space) to explore what your network needs are in 2022 then get in touch.