|by Kent Aitken|
Here's what happens 10% of the time: "Hey [employee], there's this network/community/working group and I think you should represent our organization."
(And that will often be with the subtext "...because no one else wants to.")
Here's what happens 90% of the time: "Hey [manager], there's this network/community and I'd like to make a case that I should be a part of it."
I think we need to upend that iceberg, as professional and collaborative networks are too central to the success of both individuals and organizations.
Individuals who understand the by-times complementary or conflicting goals of adjacent organizations help head off problems, manage complexity, and find mutual wins. Even when organizations are all on the same team, relationships reduce the friction of collaboration and moving information.
But as it stands, participation in networks is personality-driven, left up to individuals to identify and pursue. It is seen as a happy accident or a bonus; a feature of the person rather than the position.
Which is too unreliable. Far better to make relationships, network awareness, and collaboration part of people's jobs.*
*To which there are limits and exceptions, of course; post on that side of things coming shortly.