Don’t Settle for One Network, Build Three

Sections of this topic

    three different career networksOne career success strategy we have all heard is to build, maintain and leverage your network.

    But a recent Harvard Business School article, states it important to develop three separate ones. Yes, you read right….three separate ones. Before thinking that’s way too much work, take a look at the rationale.

    1. Your operational network
    It’s comprised of the people you rely on to get work done: your peers, direct reports, bosses, and external contacts. Often times you don’t choose these folks, but you still need to cultivate them or you won’t succeed in your job.

    2. Your developmental network
    It is a group of individuals whom you trust and to whom you can turn to for advice. Select people who bring a diversity of perspectives. They can be from different industries or different professional backgrounds. These are your coaches , your mentors and your confidants.

    3. Your strategic network
    It helps you prepare for and succeed in the future. In this group, include people who work and live at the edge of your current world and can help you see what’s on the horizon. This is the one that we tend not to create because we’re so busy with today’s challenges that we forget about tomorrow.

    Evaluate Your Network

    • Do you have one big network or do you segment your network into different categories?
    • Who is in your network and what roles do they play – operational, developmental or strategic?
    • Who is counting on you to play these different roles and do you give them what they need to succeed?

    Career Success Tip

    Think about networks as having multiple functions throughout your life and career. Having a powerful network with wide range of links in all your different “worlds” is important. Equally important is to be the person whom others want to help and have in their network. So it’s not just the number of contacts you have but the breadth of those contacts. If you have a diverse and strong network, you then can tap into a wide variety of resources and information.

    How well are you networked? Is it time to expand your networks?

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?