We here, at KBN, talk a lot about Networking (as one might expect), but did you know that there are three distinct types? Herminia Ibarra is a Professor of Organizational Behavior from INSEAD, an international business school and has conducted a study that identified that Networking falls on three varieties:
- Personal: This is the network of individuals whom we trust and share similar interests with (friends, family and acquaintances). These people are typically outside of the workplace and provide help and advice when dealing with professional dilemmas.
- Operational: This is the network of individuals we need to do get our jobs done efficiently. These people are typically colleagues or co-workers who depend on us (including direct reports, superiors, peers, suppliers and customers), whose demands typically take up a lot of our time and attention.
- Strategic: This network is about tomorrow. It helps us define what the future looks like and drives us to succeed in that future. People in this network are both internal and external to the workplace and help pose the question, what should we be doing, as opposed to what are we doing?
You need all three to succeed, however it was concluded that business leaders who believe themselves to be strong networkers are often operating at only a personal and operational level. The most effective leaders learn to employ networks for strategic purposes.
Strategic networks are our business developers, experts in their fields and can provide others with detailed knowledge. You can find these by joining professional networking groups, such as KBN!