I do a lot of speaking about building a network of powerful advocates, something
that women often underestimate. When you really take time to think about it, whom you surround yourself with makes a huge difference. Think about your network and how you might strengthen it. As you think about the three questions below consider the people you currently rely on regularly (e.g., your core network).
1. Do they look like you?
One of the most valuable things you can do is surround yourself with people who challenge your ideas and bring different perspectives. How many of the people in your core network have thinking styles, perspectives, and experiences similar to your own? If most are like you, you may be inadvertently limiting your ideas.
2. Do they extend your expertise?
Another important dimension that you may underestimate is expertise. To what extent do the people in your network, whether personal or professional contacts, expand your knowledge and understanding? Do they work in different industries? How much can you learn from them?
3. Do they span different levels?
Finally, knowing people at different levels of the hierarchy can benefit you immensely. Consider the value a network like this would hold if you were leading a change effort across the company and needed to get the pulse of the organization. It could also bring forward new ideas and perspectives from people who are closer to the day-to-day business activity. Don’t forget to consider leaders with power and influence, a group that women often focus less on. Remember that they can be valuable advocates and resources to get things done.
As you read through the questions above, what jumped out at you about your own network? Where do you see opportunities to strengthen it? Remember the breadth of your network impacts your diversity of thought, knowledge, access to resources, and ability to get things done quickly.
So, your challenge is to identify one person whom you would like to strengthen a relationship with in the next six months and the first step you will take to do so. Remember that small steps can lead to big results.
© 2012 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.