Is Your Business Network Operational, Strategic or Social
In my research I have identified that there are three types of networks: Operational, Strategic, and Social. The question is where does your network fit within those categories?
Operational networks contain the individuals that help you and your team solve your day-to-day issues and challenges. The operational network is comprised of people within your organization who belong to support groups: accounting, finance, HR, IT, customer service, marketing, research, development, sales, support teams, vertical industry teams, etc. The internal people who help you overcome day-to-day issues.
Operational networks will also include relevant vendors, possibly customers that do alpha and beta testing, consultants, contractors, advisers, industry specialists, etc. These are the external people who help you understand how you are doing, what others are doing, and may offer answers and solutions.
What does it take for you and your team to get your day-to-day tasks completed? Do you have ready access to the necessary individuals? Can you find the answers in a timely manner?
If you cannot answer those questions relative to the people in your network; you must rethink your networking process and who is in your network. Your network can be a valuable asset, but only if you have the right ingredients.
Strategic networks take you to the next level. Strategic networks include individuals who can help you see what is coming, who help you prepare and be prepared, and who offer insights into the future to help you determine your course of action.
Your strategic network will include visionaries from within and outside of your organization. They will be business and industry specialists; including industry lobbyists; local, state, national, and even International elected officials; government agencies, competitors, consultants, researchers, financial advisers, attorneys, and numerous other disciplines. The common thread is these individuals all have the ability to contribute perspective or help you develop perspective.
Your strategic network helps you set your course and avoid possible pitfalls and problems. These individuals assist in developing the 3, 5, and 10 year plans for you and/or your organization.
Your Social Network consists of individuals you care about, you may even be interested in the games they play, the food they eat, the movies they watch or the restaurants they patronize. As the name implies these are your social contacts. Those who you do not expect to show up with opportunities or new business; they may, but that is just an added benefit.
If you are like most networkers; your network probably leans toward the last type: the Social Network. The truth is these individuals are much easier to connect with and talk to. You are not as self conscious because you are not as worried you will say the wrong thing or offend someone.
Become an Effective Networker
If your desire is to become an effective networker you must be restructure your network objectives to include the operational and strategic components. The reality is that the higher up you go in an organization the more strategic your network will become. You must maintain an operational component, but the purpose will be to have the connections you need to support and help your team when it gets in a jam, faces a problem, or requires cross organization support.
Effective managers are effective networkers.
My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.
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