NETWORKING LEADERSHIP 101: BUILDING YOUR CORE PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
No matter how strong your skills, chances are you can’t solve your most complex challenges on your own. Study after study demonstrates that the more leaders and organizations can manage and navigate their professional and organizational networks, the more they can achieve their goals. At CCL we’ve been researching how to network more effectively and how to teach critical networking skills as part of leadership development. Our research focuses on several levels of networks:
- Personal networks expand the individual’s ability to learn about new opportunities and influence others
- Leaders’ networks connect internal groups and external stakeholders to enable the flow of information and resources as needed
- Collective networks create shared leadership – direction, alignment and commitment – outside formal hierarchical channels
Personal networks are of utmost importance to leaders who consistently tackle the toughest problems, cross boundaries, rely on information from existing relationships, and need to make new connections all the time. But despite its importance, to many of us, networking sounds distasteful, self-serving, even phony. We don’t know how to maintain critical relationships or leverage existing ones.
To address this need, the Center for Creative Leadership is delighted to partner with +Acumen to offer a free, 4-hour online course in Fall 2015 focused on the first level of networks: how to build your core professional network. You’ll learn why professional networking feels uncomfortable and unnatural for many of us, and how you can change your mindset. You’ll read about real people—reluctant networkers—who have made a significant impact through just a few connections with others. You’ll use technology-based tools to visualize your current network, and discover common network traps to avoid. Finally, you’ll understand what it takes to be intentional about your network, and how to achieve some quick and easy wins to get started. At the end of the course, you’ll understand that, far from being awkward or selfish, networking can be one of your most powerful strategies for achieving your organizational and your professional goals.