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So, wrote a #book:

#Managing (in) #Networks - Learning, Working and Leading Together.

What's in the book? #Thread
More info:

Here we go...
In the book I study:

What are networks?
What kind of networks are there?
What are the key elements of a vibrant network?
What kind of leadership is required?
What steps and tools will be beneficial?

Plus extras and a comprenesive framework for network appraisal.


I've studied networking and network management for the past 17 years, first as a PhD researcher, then as a post-doc, and now as a full time entrepreneur, trainer and developer.

These years have taught me the theory and practice of trusting cooperation.

Research provides ample perspectives to networking:

We are dependent on each others' resources. Power resides with those having valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable resources. But no one is omnipotent. Everyone will need help from others sooner or later.

Transaction cost theory provides analytical tools to decide if you should just do it yourself (in your hierarchy), buy it (from the markets), of cooperate to get there (with your network).

Hierarchies and markets are for routines. Networks are for flexibility and creativity.

Researchers do quarrel over the "management" of networks.

Some say: You cannot manage a network, or it becomes a hierarchy.

Other say: You have to manage a network, or it loses is value creation potential.

I say: It depends. You have to adapt.

There are different types of networks: for instance, goal-oriented and emerging as well as more "top-down" or more "bottom-up".

You cannot really "manage" a network, but you can manage "in" a network. Or rather, you can manage "with" the network as it develops. Together.

Research provides perspectives in hundreds and thousands.

You cannot take it all in. You will need a limited set of rules of thumb ready for action when the time comes. And it always does, rolling and thundering.

This is why I have written this book: for the rules of thumb.

Network cooperation, by definition, is reciprocal (two-way) action (working, learning, leading...) that is done together among autonomous agents based on trust.

The first rule of thumb: when you need cooperation, then cooperate. Simple, right?

So, do not plan the cooperation on behalf of others, but start by planning together. Take the *very first* step together. Got it? It is often more difficult than you'd think!

So, when you need to cooperate, do not try to understand or solve the situation on behalf of others.

Rather, start with the holy trinity of networking:
1) get to know each other
2) enrich trust among each other
3) build commitment to collective action

1) Getting to know each other entails in the minimum:

Understanding what others have to give (knowledge, skills etc).

Understanding what others would like to get (aspirations, wants etc).

2) Trusting each other will be fostered by acknowledging that:

Trust begets trust, and mistrust begets mistrust. So start by looking into the mirror.

Learn to trust other people's good will. Everyone wants something good to happen to someone, somewhere. Find it.

Trust will be fostered by the understanding of each others knowledge and skills. It is easier to trust someone for a task when you now that the ability it there.

However, abilities get you only half way. No one is omnipotent. Enrich trust by opening up to vulnerability.

Finally, consistency also builds trust, because usually people do like routines as they provide security. So do things as you say and say things as you do. Be consistent.

3) Nothing will happen if no one does anything. So build commitment.

Commitment by inner motivation is fostered by providing autonomy; opportunities for showing, using and sharpening skills; and connecting with others that share the purpose of the work. So enable these.

So the holy trinity of networking is 1) knowing, 2) trust and 3) commitment.

Then you will eventually find common goals that will inspire everyone, and you will find ways to break through the rocks that are ahead.

Getting there will require coordination and facilitation.

Management and leadership in networks is a careful attention to both the continuation of bottom-up emergence and the need for collective or occationally even top-down steering. Sometimes you will need to take the lead, but always with the consent of the network.

Coordinate: bring together the right parties and resources to the right place at the right time.

Facilitate: foster co-learning so that the when the parties and resources meet, these meetings are fruitful. Master the arts of hosting and collective decision making.

There are four key stages to network building:

1) Compiling the network: find out (together!) who should be involved and why they would be interested to joining in.

2) Formulating goals and practices: set the future vision and ways of operating together.

3) Proceeding together: work together as you envisioned. Iterate.

4) Evaluating and speading the results: there always is a point where you will need a new direction. This is the point where you will need to re-start from stage 1.

➡️ A recurring continuum of networking.

Also in the book:

Balancing renewing and progressing.
Engaging in dialogue.
Opening up to cooperation and the world.
Operating in a network of networks.

Finally, a comprehensive framework and a series of questions for network appraisal:

1) Requirements...
2) Functionality...
3) Development and...
4) Effects...

... of successful networking.

Interested to find out more?
... comprehensive... 😅🤦‍♂️
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