!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Your Personal Network of Business Associates

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Your Personal Network of Business Associates

As a follow-up to my earlier post on organizational network analysis, I'd like to call attention to Rob Cross's enumeration of the dimensions you should consider in cultivating your own personal network of associates.

Prof. Cross recommends thinking in terms of:
  • Position in the hierarchy — You need contacts at all levels.

  • Business unit and departmental position — Especially as you rise in your organization, you benefit from contacts across business units and departments.

  • Physical proximity — Thank goodness for modern communications. There is no reason nowadays to restrict regular contact to people in close physical proximity.

  • Structured interactions — Remember that informal contacts (as opposed to formal meetings) can be enormously valuable for learning, strategizing, and getting tasks accomplished expeditiously.

  • Time invested in maintaining relationships — Match the time you invest to the importance of each relationship.

  • Length of acquaintanceship — You need a range from long-time confidantes, to recent additions who bring you fresh ideas and feedback.
In general, you should consciously aim to avoid bias in your choice of the people with whom you maintain close relationships (e.g., mostly interacting with those in your business unit or with people you've known for many years). And it goes without saying that you need to reach out to people with whom you have common interests, as opposed to waiting for people to approach you.