Build Your Strategic Networks—Even if You Hate it! Premium

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While the power of networks (as a pool of talents, skills, ideas, resources, etc.) is considerable, managers too often fail to make use of it. Regardless of this all-too-common tendency among managers, developing a strategic approach to networking is a challenge that has to be met in a successful career.

You are only five handshakes away from Hu Jintao, Barack Obama, or king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (the three most powerful men in the world according to the 2011 Forbes ranking ). Don’t forget: this can be useful to you!

3 Tips For Developing Effective Networks

  1. Concentrate on making outside connections: the key to effective strategic networking is to connect to people that your daily work would not put you in contact with. There’s no sense in wasting too much energy consciously seeking contact with the people you see regularly anyway.. Concentrate your efforts on the people who are harder to reach: leaders in other companies from different sectors, experts, lecturers, academic researchers, etc.
  2. Diversity versus size: rather than trying to develop the biggest possible network, focus on the usefulness of your connections. An effective network is one that features diverse skills and multiple points of view. Each person be should different from you—and from your other contacts!
  3. Weak links versus strong: your closest friends are those who will readily help you no matter what. Strong links are useful, but they link you mostly to the world that you are already familiar with. On the contrary, developing your weaker links will expose you to ideas that are truly new.

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Build Your Strategic Networks—Even if You Hate it!

Business Digest no. 218, July-August 2011.

A synthesis of several publications, accompanied by interviews with Peter Parthenis Jr, president and CEO of Grecian Delight Foods, and Parvati Shaiya, CEO of Parvati Consulting, India, June 2011.