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The Power of Strong Networks

Networking can be a powerful way to establish and cultivate meaningful, fulfilling, and professionally beneficial relationships. Successful networkers understand the need for and importance of strategically fostering net, new relationships. While initiating new connections, strong networkers diligently and deliberately strive to enhance and deepen existing connections. Seems pretty straightforward….

Yet, for many of us, just saying the word “networking” conjures up a host of unappealing images. For some, networking is a dirty word – transactional at best, smarmy and self-serving on steroids, at worst. For others, networking is of interest. But, it takes a deliberate approach – a practice of sorts – that requires dedicated energy and time, two things in ever-short supply these days. How can we possibly add yet another thing to our to-do lists? For introverted clients and colleagues, in particular, networking can be a particular source of energy drain (another video call?), social anxiety (more people!), and overall frustration (why is extroverted behavior celebrated and elevated at work?). What to do?

This week’s reading and listening curates a variety of perspectives on the value of social networks, including pragmatic counsel on how we can recalibrate our mental models to and expectations of networking. The authors and speakers offer specific approaches to reduce our anxieties, manage our energy and develop networking practices that best reflect our professional desires while honoring our authentic selves. There are two articles that delineate challenges specific to introverts and practices that may be of use.


Build a Network — Even When You Don’t Think You Need One. “Many smart, successful “lone wolves” pride themselves on their self-sufficiency and lack of a network — at the same time as they long for one. Intellectually, they recognize the benefits of networking and know they should do it. But they’ve achieved their current status on the strength of solo (or near solo) efforts, and adjusting their mindset and behaviors can be challenging. If you’ve avoided networking in the past because of lone-wolf tendencies, the author offers four strategies you can use to reframe the process and turn it into something you actually enjoy doing.”

A Strong Network Can Be Your Business’s Best Safety Net. “When I lost my job, I felt like I lost everything. But I hadn’t. Here’s how I built a network that helped me rebound even stronger.”

How to find your next job: Talk to the people you already know:Networking can feel daunting because it means talking to strangers, but there’s another way to do it: Just have different conversations with the people you’re already speaking to.”

The Secrets of Successful Female Networkers. “One oft-cited reason why more female executives don’t advance to top management jobs is their lack of access to informal organizational and industry networks…But some female leaders do establish strong networks—and they win greater influence and more-senior positions as a result. What are they doing differently?”

The secret struggles of introverts in a remote workforce. “You may think your introverted colleagues are in work-from-home heaven. They’re not. Here are 3 struggles they may be facing and how to support them.”

Introverts are excluded unfairly in an extroverts’ world. “More importantly, we must remember that introversion is not something to be fixed – but a blessed source of human diversity that comes with many strengths. The way to advance our personal and collective growth is not by eliminating this diversity, but by embracing it.”


HBR IdeaCast: What Kind of Networker Are You? “Marissa King, professor at Yale School of Management, has studied the strengths and weaknesses of different types of social networks. She argues that most of us have a natural style of networking: we favor tight social circles, or brokering across varied groups, or having an expansive list of contacts. But she says we can also tweak the way we build relationships to meet our changing needs.”

Dear HBR: Do you wish you were more plugged-in at your organization? “…They talk through what to do when you want to network at a company retreat, your manager is bothered by your schmoozing with their peers, or you want to know about plum projects before they get assigned to someone else.”

Blog Posts
The Daily Stoic: The Better You Get, The Less You Care… “The better you get, the more you are able to tie your identity to the only thing that matters according to the Stoics: your own choices, your own work, your own judgement.”

James Clear: How to Automate a Habit and Never Think About It Again. “By utilizing strategic onetime decisions and technology, you can create an environment of inevitability—a space where good habits are not just an outcome you hope for, but an outcome that is virtually guaranteed.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner
In Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the Gifts of Simplicity. “Good, simple, everyday wines, the kind that can be opened without ceremony or permission, hold an exalted place in my heart. These are the bottles most cherished by wine lovers.”

Interview: Lupin’s Omar Sy. “The actor stars in Netflix’s biggest French-language hit as a gentleman thief. He and the director, Louis Leterrier, explain how the drama drew in 70 million fans worldwide.”

“A 6-ton potato is one of Idaho’s hottest Airbnb locations. Would you sleep in this?”


Aikido instructor George Leonard on mastery:

“How long will it take me to master Aikido?” a prospective student asks.

“How long do you expect to live?” is the only respectable response.

Ultimately, practice is the path of mastery. If you stay on it long enough, you’ll find it to be a vivid place, with its ups and downs, its challenges and comforts, its surprises, disappointments, and unconditional joys. You’ll take your share of bumps and bruises while traveling – bruises of the ego as well as of the body, mind, and spirit – but it might well turn out to be the most reliable thing in your life. Then, too, it might eventually make you a winner in your chosen field, if that’s what you’re looking for, and then people will refer to you as a master. But that’s not really the point.

What is mastery? At the heart of it, mastery is practice. Mastery is staying on the path.”

Source: Mastery

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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