When women business leaders think about networking, we think about it in the realm of forging relationships in order to promote new positions for ourselves or new business for our company. And while there is nothing wrong with that outlook, there is so much more we could do to foster our success.
A recent article by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback, “Three Networks You Need,” outlined three networking areas you might not have thought about before. They offer some great ideas about how to network more effectively. Here are my thoughts about their networking concepts:
Your operational network
Linda and Kent describe your operational network as the people and groups that help you do your day-to-day work. This group is not necessary in order to do your work, but it is important to work together with this group. In my business, I consider those in my operational network as “collaborators” in the best sense. In other words, we work together for the overall success of the business’s objectives, which in turn promotes individual success.
Your developmental network
According to Linda and Kent, those in your developmental network are your trusted advisors, mentors, friends and those you go to for advice and use as a professional sounding board. I know that in my world, those in my developmental network have definitely helped me grow as a manager and leader.
Your strategic network
While the first two networks aren’t necessary to your success, say Linda and Kent, those you cultivate for your strategic network definitely are. The authors suggest that first two networks happen naturally in the course of your becoming a business leader, but the strategic network involves those you gather around you as you develop your future business objectives. These are the forward-thinkers who will assist you as you tackle new frontiers.
The bottom line is that we all know we need to surround ourselves with smart, empathetic and engaged people. But, the point is this: You need to be thoughtful and deliberate when you create your networks because these are the people who will be critical to your eventual success. I’ve outlined more networking tips in my blog, “6 Networking Trends for Women Business Leaders.”