Three Types of Professional Networks

Here is an excellent article and podcast by Hermania Ibarra, INSEAD Professor and thought-leader in the area of professional networks for managers.

I’m not a daily blogger or blog reader and post and read in spurts, so this article is actually from May. So some of you are likely to have already seen it. I picked it up from Valdis Kreb’s superb blog.

Here are what I felt are the main points of Hermania’s piece:

There are three types of professional networks:

Operational – the people you directly work with to get your job done. Most managers spend a lot of time developing these relationships and neglect the other two types of networks, which are:

Personal Networks – e.g., alumni, professional, social and affinity groups — these allow you to meet a diverse group of like-minded professionals. Good for career moves, and to link you to new kinds of networks for your current work when opportunities emerge there.

Strategic networks -contacts with peers and senior people in your field — toughest but most essential for leaders. Look beyond your industry. Strategic networks are crucial for sharing ideas about best practices, learning new approaches, keeping tabs on developments in business and technology. Helps leaders see the bigger picture.

Managers often fail at networking because many people haven’t developed good network-building practices and skills and feel initially that they’re wasting time. Also many feel that “networking” = using other people, or making superficial relationships.  Not so.  Good networking is reciprocal.

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