Years ago, I coached a new manager who did the worst thing possible. In his insecurity about his new role and desire to succeed, he forbade his direct reports from having any conversations with others in the organization without him in the room.
Every organization has a hidden system: a web of relationships and informal networks that people use to complete day-to-day work. This system has its benefits: it helps get things done, disseminate knowledge, and incubate innovation. However, most leaders are unaware of how these networks influence productivity or workflow.
“I’m on LinkedIn. Isn’t that enough networking?”
Truth be told: this question still makes me wince. But it’s a fair question. Awareness of networks is so new that, when we talk about networks, most people think of Facebook and LinkedIn. What’s the difference?
80 women from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association convened on July 19, 2011 to learn about the Art and Science of Networking. The task: figure out how to use science to reduce the awkwardness of traditional networking and to network strategically. The session received rave reviews.