A critical success factor for all Change Leaders is having a network which is:
Broad – includes a range of stakeholders both internal and external to the organisation, and across a range of functions
Deep – includes stakeholders at all levels in the hierarchy
Established – based on trust, authenticity, reciprocity and transparency
Building a network takes time and energy, and it must be genuine.
Do you know how effective your network is?
Does it help or hinder your ability to lead and deliver change?
What can you do to enhance your network?
If you want to boost your network and its effectiveness, here are 10 things you can do:
1. Regularly identify your network. Ask yourself – who’s in it, and how effective it is? Identify any gaps that exist, and where there are blockages (ie people with whom it’s hard to get things done)
2. Drive energy into your network – so that you strike the right balance between reaching out to people and asking for something, and you reaching out to others and offering help and support. Be proactive in helping others. Remember – the more you share, the more you will gain, over time
3. Consistently follow through and live up to your commitments. This is a critical ingredient for building trusted relationships
4. Consciously seek out people with different opinions, who will challenge your thinking and mindset, so that your network has character and depth. The more you broaden your mind, the greater your ability to think issues through, take on different perspectives and manage complex change
5. Support your team with their networks and find out how your team collaborates. Is it effective? Are they collaborating across the team and into other areas of the organisation? How they network can impact your success as a change leader
6. Know the connectors and influencers in your team and network. These people know people, and therefore know how and who to influence. In short, they know how to get things done and can more easily navigate hierarchical roadblocks
7. Reward and encourage your team members who engage in healthy and effective collaborative behaviour
8. Help integrate people who are new to your organisation and team. Introduce them to key people and let them know who they can turn to for information, expertise and support
9. Actively facilitate collaboration across teams, business units, geographic boundaries, particularly where it’s critical to business outcomes. You’ll not only be helping to secure progress, but you’ll also be building your brand as someone who is well connected
10. Enjoy building your network, and always do it from a position of integrity. I’ve left the most important item until last. Your integrity is essential and it is something that you should protect and nurture. If you lose your integrity you will have little credibility or trust with your stakeholders, and therefore, an ineffective network
Change happens, so make it work for you.
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