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-25 years ago I had a front row seat at the creation of the field – how nonprofits can use the Internet for social change -I got a job as a trainer, ArtsWire, an online network of artists and arts organizations. -They hired me despite the fact that I did not know a modem from a microwave -Working in technology, you face cranial containment issues – there is too much to know and it changes to fast to know it all – so you have to develop and cultivate a robust professional network of people who will share their knowledge - I also took this approach to the way I train nonprofits about technology, incorporating ways for people to be connected and learn from each other -My passion for networking, online technology, and peer learning has taken me around the world, working with thousands of nonprofits and people who are passionate about using technology for social change …
Think about the core people in your network. The first analysis step is to look at diversity because it correlates with innovation.
There is also research that suggests having an “open network” can lead to more career success than a closed network. A closed network is a network of people who already know each other – an industry network for example.
In a closed network, it’s easier to get things done because you already share a common understanding and vocabulary and you know all the shorthand terms and unspoken rules. It’s comfortable because the group converges on the same ways of seeing the world that confirm your own.
But if you create an open network — that is connections across multiple fields and perspectives – it is a better predictor of success.
In the HBR article, Cross suggests asking these two very important analysis questions: What benefits do your interactions with them provide? How energizing are those interactions? Having energizers in your network, people who are not self-interested or what Adam Grant describes as “Takers,”, is important because it can help you be more successful. Cross also suggests doing an analysis based on the benefits your connections provide. He suggest these categories:
information and learning political support and influence personal development personal support and energy a sense of purpose or worth work/life balance
It’s important to have people who provide each kind of benefit in your network. Categorizing your relationships will give you a clearer idea of whether your network is extending your abilities or keeping you stuck. Once you’ve done this analysis, you can determine which connections to back away from. The article suggests avoiding people who steal your energy. The techniques for backing away might include “reshaping your role to avoid them, devoting less time to them, working to change their behavior, or reframing your reactions so that you don’t dwell on the interactions.” You should also analyze if you have too many connections that provide one type of benefit versus another and then look at the all the diversity characteristics that Jarche recommends. -
Benefits of Smarter Professional Online
Networking • Access to quick conversations, expert opinions, issue or system scan • Leads to new ideas, new connections • Get real-time insights • Efficient way to find out what people in your network are doing and whether to reconnect • Facilitates connections at conferences and meetings • Open doors, build relationships with experts, influencers, or others
Turtle • No online networking
or profile locked down • Only connects with family and personal friends • Little benefit to your organization/professional Jelly Fish • Profile open to all and connects with everyone • Share content & engage frequently with little censoring • Potential decrease in respect Chameleon • Profile open or curated connections • Networking strategy • Helps you solve problems or reach goals Based on “When World’s Collide” Nancy Rothbard, Justin Berg, Arianne Ollier-Malaterre (2013) What Kind of Networking Animal Are You?
I-Network Strategy: A Strong Core
Source: Managing Yourself: A Smarter Way to Network by Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas “Core connections and relationships must … • Bridge smaller, more-diverse groups and geography. • Result in more learning, less bias, and greater personal growth. • Model positive behaviors: generosity, authenticity, and enthusiasm.
Use the Worksheet To Analyze
• Age • Organization • Gender • Hierarchical Position • Area of Expertise • Geographic Location Based on the work of Harold Jarche and Robert Cross • Information and learning • Political support and influence • Personal development • Personal support and energy • A sense of purpose or worth • Work/Life balance DIVERSITY BENEFITS
Create Your I-Network Map •
Use sticky notes, markers and poster paper to create your professional network map. • Think about your challenge, organizational goals or professional goals and relate to your analysis • Decide on different colors to distinguish between different categories of people • Show how people are linked to each other and what extended networks they bridge you to
Analyze Your Map • Who
in your core can help with your challenge? What type of people do you need to add? • Is your core diverse enough? • What networks do people in your core bridge you with? • Are you getting new ideas from your core? • Are there people who steal your energy? How to remove? • Does your core provide all the benefits? Gaps? • How can you research and connect online via social? • How can you maintain relationships online and offline?
Leverage Weak Ties Online •
Social media can speed your connections to the right people and help you maintain relationships over time consistently. • Embrace weak ties strategically • Favor test and other ways to set limits on accessibility and who you respond to • Kondo your connections • Online Rolodex • Pre-Event Connection • Make or Get Introductions • Growing Your Network • Reconnecting • LinkedIn Group Participation