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.
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.
Hierarchies and markets are for routines. Networks are for flexibility and creativity.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Understanding what others have to give (knowledge, skills etc).
Understanding what others would like to get (aspirations, wants etc).
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.
However, abilities get you only half way. No one is omnipotent. Enrich trust by opening up to vulnerability.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Balancing renewing and progressing.
Engaging in dialogue.
Opening up to cooperation and the world.
Operating in a network of networks.
3) Development and...
... of successful networking.