Building a Well-Networked Organization
Good article on the power of networking w/in organizations:
They tend to excel individually while at the same time developing, leveraging and contributing to their networks and those of selected others within or outside their organization. Early in their employment in organizations, high performers invest in, develop and renew high-quality network relationships. These personal relationships help them extend their expertise and avoid learning biases by tapping into pockets of knowledge and accessing valuable resources across their networks.
In contrast to other employees, high performers tend to think strategically about personal relationships, positioning themselves at key leverage points within organizational networks. In doing so, they are more effective and also more visible, both within and outside their organization. This visibility tends to position them better than colleagues for plum assignments, development opportunities and promotions.
Apart from the role of an individual’s performance, network analysis shows that the relational and cultural dynamics of an organization can actually create poor performers…Once marginalized individuals are identified, managers can design recruitment, retention and development programs to effectively tie them to the network.
There are several explanations for this. In some cases, corporate management processes are too focused on individuals and do not acknowledge or account for collaborative work. In other instances, managers in positions of influence pick their favorites too quickly. Research shows that when leaders are not well positioned to “accurately observe” collaborative behavior,5 the impact of strong collaborators can remain hidden from them.
Clearly, leveraging social networks for recruitment is not new. Employers have long given special consideration to employee referrals over “blind” applicants, who may have little or no insight into the organization, its workings or its culture. Referred candidates are more likely to get up to speed quickly, produce sooner and stay longer because of pre-established networks within the organization. By leveraging social networks for new hires, organizations make it less likely that talent will be marginalized or hidden and can more effectively tap and retain high performers.