21ST
CENTURY
NETWORKING
A GUIDE TO
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Published in 2014 by Head Resourcing Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Written and edited by
Scott Torrance & Ross Coverdale
Desig...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
CONTENTS
What networking is
What has changed
Impact of technology
Drop your old tools
Being a conne...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
4
INTRODUCTION
Networking always has been and always will remain important in business.
However:
Ho...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
5
WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS GUIDE?WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS GUIDE?
THIS GUIDE WILL HELP YOU:
In a wor...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
There is a lot
that SCIENCE
knows about
NETWORKING
that is largely ignored
by BUSINESS
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
7
Networks have always been important in society – they have been the
cornerstone of various social...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
8
Most business leaders now accept the importance of informal networks in
driving performance and i...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
9
Just think, in the last 24 hours how often have been more
than 10ft away from your smartphone? Wh...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
10
BUSINESSES IN GENERAL ARE SLOW TO
REACT AND WILL NEED TO ADAPT TO
SURVIVE.
This is all having an...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
As 21st century employees
and business leaders
we need to REVIEW
our APPROACH to
NETWORKING.
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
12
To be able to navigate this new business landscape we need new tools and
new ways of thinking.
N...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
13
The first step in adapting to this new business landscape is to understand
social networks. When...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
14
We’ve all heard of Generation X and Generation Y – these relate to the
period in which you were ...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
Do you speak
NETWORKING ?
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
16
ADDING VALUE IN YOUR
NETWORK
To be able to fully utilise these new tools we must first improve o...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
17
BROKERAGE
Brokering is about developing the weak ties—building the bridges and
relationships bet...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
18
As a networker in the 21st century your job is to bridge the gap between
diverse networks by bec...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
19
Burt identifies three advantages that brokers have in a network:
BREADTH OF
INFORMATION
Brokers ...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
20
CLOSURE
Whereas brokering is about developing the weak ties between clusters,
closure is about b...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
21
There is an inherent tension between the two roles.
Brokers are striving to increase
variation w...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
23
When you are looking for a job, who do you turn to? Most people would
say that you turn to those...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
24
These connections work in the same places, read the same things and
socialise with the same peop...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
26
The basic idea behind Metcalfe’s Law is
that the ‘potential value’ of a network
increases expone...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
27
When small world networks combine and grow
a higher order pattern emerges.
PREFERENTIAL
ATTACHME...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
28
SIZE, STRUCTURE & SOCIAL
CAPITAL
The size of your network is often held as the ultimate
measure ...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
29
SOCIAL CAPITAL
Imagine the situation, you have a new business
idea for the healthcare sector tha...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
30
HOW WILL EFFECTIVE NETWORKING
IMPROVE MY PERFORMANCE?
Rob Cross at The University of Virginia, c...
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
31
In the next white paper we will take this knowledge
and put it into action, looking at how to de...
Thank you for reading our guide to networking in the 21st
century.
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ONLINE:
WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
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A visual guide to 21st century networking

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There is a lot that science knows about networking that is largely ignored by business.

Join us as we take a look at the wonderful world of network science and the insights it can provide about business networking.

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A visual guide to 21st century networking

  1. 1. 21ST CENTURY NETWORKING A GUIDE TO BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
  2. 2. Published in 2014 by Head Resourcing Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland. Written and edited by Scott Torrance & Ross Coverdale Design and layout by Ross Coverdale & Mirka Voláková Illustrations by Scott Torrance & Mirka Voláková Downloadable PDF of this white paper is available online at www.headresourcing.com
  3. 3. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM CONTENTS What networking is What has changed Impact of technology Drop your old tools Being a connected employee Clustering Brokerage Closure The strength of weak ties Scale-free networks Social capital Generation C Social networking 101 What does matter? 1. INTRODUCTION 2. (UN)CONNECTED BUSINESS 3. NETWORK SCIENCE & THE CONNECTED AGE 4. ADDING VALUE IN YOUR NETWORK 5. SIZE DOESN’T MATTER
  4. 4. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 4 INTRODUCTION Networking always has been and always will remain important in business. However: How networks are constructed has changed How we network has changed How you go about creating value has changed How you scale your network has changed And these things are changing fast. Unfortunately, not enough of the thinking in business has changed, and the tools that we have are no longer fit for purpose. We need a new approach for the 21st century. While social networks are playing an increasingly important role in how business is done, we have a poor understanding of how they work. The same is true of building human social networks to help you achieve your business goals. In this white paper we are going to introduce you to the world of network science and explore how it can change your behaviour to significantly improve your results. Network science is not a new discipline, but recent findings coupled with an ever changing business landscape has challenged many of the core principles of relationship building, and offers invaluable advice that, until now, business has largely ignored.
  5. 5. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 5 WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS GUIDE?WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS GUIDE? THIS GUIDE WILL HELP YOU: In a world where customers and consumers are becoming increasingly connected, being a connected employee is no longer something that only the social media-savvy intern does, in the same way that networking is no longer just a task for sales people looking to hit their targets. To remain competitive in the future individuals need to understand how to conceptualise, understand, and leverage their networks to get things done. Learn about the mindset required for success in 21st century business Understand how networks are constructed and how value is added Learn how to leverage your relationships Understand power and control in networks This is the first in a two-part series of white papers on networking in the 21st century, where we take a look at the theory to better understand the impact of social networks in business. In the second white paper we will apply that theory into an actionable strategy for success.
  6. 6. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM There is a lot that SCIENCE knows about NETWORKING that is largely ignored by BUSINESS
  7. 7. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 7 Networks have always been important in society – they have been the cornerstone of various social evolutions and revolutions, and, of course, they are key to success in business. What’s interesting is the increasing scope of areas networks are influencing in business... ...and that social media platforms are making connections more explicit. INNOVATION LEADERSHIP CAREERS 500+ CONNECTIONS PEOPLE CONNECT IN WAYS THAT BUSINESSES DON’T YOU MARISSA MAYER How you’re connected...
  8. 8. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 8 Most business leaders now accept the importance of informal networks in driving performance and innovation, but so few spend the time to assess the implications for organisational structure and personal networking. Just as someone who is IT illiterate will make incorrect decisions about how best to accomplish a task, so too will the network illiterate make incorrect decisions about how to network to get things done. The importance of social networks in business are being accelerated by two factors: the unstoppable rise and adoption of technology the use of that technology for people to connect and self-organise THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY Technology is changing how we communicate and interact with each other and this is having a significant impact on how relationships are formed and developed. When we talk about networking in business it is easy to get caught up in the technology and social network platforms that have interwoven themselves into the very fabric of our every day life. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are important, we must not underplay the role that mobile devices – and in particular the smartphone – has played in accelerating both the adoption of these platforms but also in drastically altering the communication landscape.
  9. 9. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 9 Just think, in the last 24 hours how often have been more than 10ft away from your smartphone? Whether you’re always aware of it or not, you are more connected to your network than you may realise. (UN)CONNECTED BUSINESS How information is created, accessed and shared has been significantly altered by technological advances and the social networks that sit on top of this technology. These changes are creating a shift from an ‘information age’ following the industrial revolution, to a ‘networked age’ where employees, customers and organisations are becoming increasingly connected. As such, more traditional or formal channels are being bypassed both internally within businesses but more so in the marketplace; customers nowadays are continuing to connect, creating informal networked communities that allow them to share information and experiences throughout the buying journey – and this is all beyond the control of businesses. Think about how many companies have had well-publicised marketing initiatives hijacked by their consumer base on Twitter? In many spheres of your life you are the connected customer; you are using your social media connections to decide which restaurants to go to on a Saturday night or what books to buy, but most people are not applying this thinking to their own careers or business interests.
  10. 10. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 10 BUSINESSES IN GENERAL ARE SLOW TO REACT AND WILL NEED TO ADAPT TO SURVIVE. This is all having an impact on how relationships are formed and develop. We are using outdated tools and approaches to relationship building that are not fit for purpose in a networked world. The capability is available to us as we have all the communication tools at our fingertips – in fact, they have never been more available – but we don’t have the skills to use them effectively in business. We need to drop our old tools and ways of thinking and adopt a new approach to networking that is fit for a connected age. However, this is easier said than done. Organisational theorist Karl Weick investigated this topic by looking at wild fire fatalities where firefighters refused to drop their tools when ordered to do so, and as a result were overrun with fire and died within sight of safe zones. The firefighters could have made it if they had been lighter and more agile, if they had dropped their tools. One firefighter who was unable to outrun a fire was found 250ft from a safety zone still carrying his back pack and chainsaw. Source: Drop your Tools: On Reconfiguring Management Education (Weick, 2007) While this is a rather dramatic example, the inability to drop your old networking tools and bad habits, and pick up new ones, could signal the demise of your competitiveness in the workplace.
  11. 11. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM As 21st century employees and business leaders we need to REVIEW our APPROACH to NETWORKING.
  12. 12. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 12 To be able to navigate this new business landscape we need new tools and new ways of thinking. Network science provides these. Network science is the study of complex networks; from computer networks, to biological networks, and cognitive and semantic networks. Networks are everywhere in our life. A network is basically a set of nodes and the connections between those nodes. When things are deeply connected they act and behave differently. NETWORK SCIENCE & THE CONNECTED AGE Take for example a single ant. It is not overly intelligent in that it cannot achieve much by itself… …but when networked together ants can create remarkable structures and communities that they wouldn’t be able to alone.
  13. 13. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 13 The first step in adapting to this new business landscape is to understand social networks. When you have an understanding, the sometimes complex and seemingly unpredictable nature of networks starts to make sense, and you can use that understanding to your advantage. When it comes to relationship building we are interested in social networks and the field of social network analysis. WHAT IS A SOCIAL NETWORK? A social network is simply a network where: The nodes are organisations and people... ...and the connection between them are the links. formal informal logical emotional Think of your workplace, school, church, clubs and associations that you are involved in, these are all social networks. Social networks are interdependent; they rely on each other for survival and ultimately success.
  14. 14. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 14 We’ve all heard of Generation X and Generation Y – these relate to the period in which you were born (between the 1960s and early 80s, and between the early 80s and early 2000s, respectively). Certain trends and assumptions around motivations and aspirations in life and work can be attributed to these generations. Generation C is not a demographic designation but rather a psychographic one driven by a specific set of values, opinions, attitudes, interests, lifestyle and personality. The best networkers are paid more, get more promotions... but this is too broad; it’s not just about being a networker, and it’s not about having the most connections or the biggest rolodex. The top networking performers have very specific characteristics, and build their networks in a very specific manner to maximise value, which we will go on to explore. Become a part of Generation C “Social networks are patterns of behaviour and interaction. As behaviours are repeated, they form stronger associations over time.” DAVE GRAY Author of ‘The Connected Company’
  15. 15. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM Do you speak NETWORKING ?
  16. 16. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 16 ADDING VALUE IN YOUR NETWORK To be able to fully utilise these new tools we must first improve our network literacy. We refer to network literacy because it is a fundamental skill that will determine a person’s success in business. Entrepreneur John Battelle identified the competitive edge that the ‘search literate’ had in the Information Age in being able to find and make sense of the ever-increasing amount of data in the information age1 . This is no longer enough; in the Connected Age we must improve our network literacy to better navigate an increasingly uncertain landscape and identify opportunities along the way. When we start to understand the structure of our social networks we start to understand that there are two main activities that create value in small- world networks: clustering and brokerage. 1 – Source: The Information Age to the Networked Age: Are You Network Literate? (Hoffman, 2014) Information flows quickly and repeatedly within clusters Information doesn’t flow easily between clusters CLUSTERING Your network is a group of clusters. There are two key points that are important to note about clusters:
  17. 17. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 17 BROKERAGE Brokering is about developing the weak ties—building the bridges and relationships between clusters. BROKERS (connectingclusters) CLOSURE(building trustwithin a cluster) loosely connected densely connected clusters And this is how clusters and brokers relate in a wider network:
  18. 18. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 18 As a networker in the 21st century your job is to bridge the gap between diverse networks by becoming a broker between two separate networks. Research consistency shows that brokers within a network receive higher salaries, more promotions and increased industry recognition. In Rob Cross’s research into high-achievers, no other factor was as important for determining career success than the extent to which a person is a broker within a network2 . When you have the opportunity to learn how someone in another group does what you do differently, jump at it. Brokerage & Closure (Burt, 2005) Brokers are in a position to see the differences between clusters, cross- pollinate ideas, and to capitalise on these differences to co-create value and opportunity where previously there was none. The Connected Company (Gray, 2012) ROB BURT DAVE GRAY 2 – Source: The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding how work really gets done in organisations (Cross; Parker, 2004)
  19. 19. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 19 Burt identifies three advantages that brokers have in a network: BREADTH OF INFORMATION Brokers are able to pull information from multiple, diverse networks and cross-pollinate those ideas. By identifying the differences between networks they are able to capitalise on these opportunities and create value where there was none before. TIMING They are the first to introduce an idea into a cluster. TRANSLATION As we discussed above, closed networks can develop a unique language. Develop the skills and abilities to be able to translate knowledge from one network and introduce it into another in a language they understand. This gives brokers access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations. While there is a lot of competitive advantage to be accrued to the person who can bridge the gap between networks it means stepping out of the comfort zone of closed networks. This means increased discomfort and requires intellectual flexibility to handle the increased uncertainty.
  20. 20. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 20 CLOSURE Whereas brokering is about developing the weak ties between clusters, closure is about building strong ties within a cluster by building trust and alignment within the community. These are two very different ways that you can add value to a network. It is important to develop the right balance between brokering and closure that aligns to your role and the goals you are tasked with achieving. Sociologist Brian Uzzi carried out a study looking at why certain Broadway musicals made between 1945 and 1989 were successful and others flopped. The explanation he arrived at had to do with the people behind the productions. For failed productions, one of two extremes was common. The first was a collaboration between creative artists and producers who tended to all know one another. When there were mostly strong ties, the production lacked the fresh, creative insights that come from diverse experience. The other type of failed production was one in which none of the artists had experience working together. When the group was made up of mostly weak ties, teamwork and group cohesion suffered. In contrast, the social networks of the people behind successful productions had a healthy balance: there were some strong ties and some weak ties. There was some established trust, but also enough ‘new blood’ in the system to generate new ideas. Source: The New Yorker – Groupthink: The Brainstorming Myth (Lehrer, 2012) Understanding this can also help you to understand and navigate the informal power structure in any large complex organisation.
  21. 21. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 21 There is an inherent tension between the two roles. Brokers are striving to increase variation within networks by bridging knowledge and this means focusing on freeing oneself from the restrictions of one group. Closers on the other hand are looking to reduce variation and are looking to drive common behaviour and alignment within the group. Build high-quality relationships with trusted allies and establish a broad network of weak ties. The Start Up of You (Hoffman, 2012) REID HOFFMAN Founder of LinkedIn Being a recruitment consultancy it feels right that we look at challenging long-held assumptions regarding job hunting and give some advice on how to overcome it.
  22. 22. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM
  23. 23. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 23 When you are looking for a job, who do you turn to? Most people would say that you turn to those closest to you. This of course makes sense, because they are the ones who know you the best and would do anything to help you succeed. While these strong ties are important in many situations, when job hunting, this is often not where the real advantage comes. A Stanford sociologist, Mark Granovetter, set out to test the assumption that we get the most help from our strong ties, surveying people in professional, technical and managerial professions who had recently changed jobs. Nearly 28% percent heard about the job not through their strong ties, but in fact through their weak ones, compared to 17% from strong ties. Source: The Strength of Weak Ties (Granovetter, 1973) It is often the people with whom we are least connected to that offer us the most interesting and diverse career opportunities. Why is that? STRONG TIES WEAK TIES
  24. 24. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 24 These connections work in the same places, read the same things and socialise with the same people. Weak ties on the other hand are our acquaintances, the people we know casually and potentially haven’t seen for a few years for whatever reason. It is these weak ties that offer a connection to new networks, introducing new and interesting opportunities and job leads. Often a short conversation with a relative stranger over coffee can spark a deep connection and open up a whole new world of opportunities that were previously not on your radar. Now that you know this, what comes next? Start building those weak ties now... before you need them. Engaging with lots of different people will increase the likelihood of these serendipitous encounters. Start thinking about how you can grow your network, be it through social media, hobbies, industry events, alumni groups or any other social groups and occasions. OUR STRONG TIES ARE TOO CLOSE TO US
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  26. 26. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 26 The basic idea behind Metcalfe’s Law is that the ‘potential value’ of a network increases exponentially as you add new interconnected nodes. In the context of relationship building, this means that as you build relationships that are connected to each other, the value of the network increases exponentially3 . Metcalfe’s Law becomes significant when a critical mass is achieved and hockey stick like growth occurs. Small world networks only tell part of the story. In the early 1990’s, economist George Glider postulated a theory that would change how we think about networks from telephones to the Internet and social networks. He called his theory Metcalfe’s Law, named after the founder of Ethernet. SMALL-WORLD TO SCALE-FREE NETWORKS Most networks are what Ron Burt defined as small world networks. Small world networks are a combination of densely-connected clusters that are loosely connected with each other. VALUE #OFCONNECTIONS 3 – Source: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Shapiro, 1998)
  27. 27. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 27 When small world networks combine and grow a higher order pattern emerges. PREFERENTIAL ATTACHMENT SUPER HUBS When new nodes join a network, they don’t do so randomly They are more likely to attach to large nodes No matter how large they grow, the distribution of nodes and hubs doesn’t change SCALE-FREE NETWORKS What emerges are so-called This becomes significant when a critical mass is achieved and a hockey stick like growth appears
  28. 28. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 28 SIZE, STRUCTURE & SOCIAL CAPITAL The size of your network is often held as the ultimate measure of the value of someones network, but network science challenges this core assumption. Luckily the field of network science starts to offer some actionable insights that help to challenge our long held beliefs about networking. It is not the size of your network that matters but rather the structure and the resulting social capital you have. Your position within that set of relationships — the benefit you get from this is your social capital. While there are many definitions of social capital they all agree that social networks have intrinsic value. The social connections and relationships you have affect your productivity and your ability to get stuff done. Social capital explains how some people do better because they are somehow better connected to people. THE SIZE OF YOUR NETWORK DOESN’T MATTER IF SIZE DOESN’T MATTER, THEN WHAT DOES?
  29. 29. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 29 SOCIAL CAPITAL Imagine the situation, you have a new business idea for the healthcare sector that you want to move on but you need a software developer to work with you to make it a reality. You know two developers in your network who have the perfect skill set to make it a reality. The question is: who are you likely to approach with the opportunity, Alex or James? Who has the most value? James Alex YOU MUST LOOK AT THE WIDER NETWORK All of Alex’s connections are within the software developer network, with indirect connections to VCs and the healthcare sector through friends of friends. Alex is likely to have a lot of redundant information as many of his connections are what network scientists would call ‘structurally equivalent people’. James’s position affords him a number of advantages: Given James’ position in the network, he is a bridge between the groups and therefore a conduit for information between the three groups. Healthcare Professionals Software Developers Alex James VCs James is what network scientists call a broker; he bridges the gap between separate groups. Early access to information Access to a wider variety of information Control over information diffusion In short: you should approach James.
  30. 30. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 30 HOW WILL EFFECTIVE NETWORKING IMPROVE MY PERFORMANCE? Rob Cross at The University of Virginia, carried out research over 5 years looking not at what people with big networks do, but rather on how the high performers in an organisation use their network to drive results. Cross found that there is often a statistically significant negative likelihood of knowing a lot of people and being a top performer. Source: The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding how work really gets done in organisations (Cross; Parker, 2004) If this is the case then what do high performers do? Cross found that high performers manage their networks in very specific ways: They look to develop and encourage a range of different ideas and information in their networks. They get out from behind their desk and maintain balanced relationships across organisational lines, departments within their organisation as well as out with the company’s four walls. As well as balancing of kinds of benefit, information, political support they receive from their network. They look to extend their abilities; to build networks that challenge them, not surrounding themselves with people who only know what they know. They build purposeful, high-quality relationships that actually drive ideas and innovation towards them on a voluntary basis over time.
  31. 31. WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM 31 In the next white paper we will take this knowledge and put it into action, looking at how to develop a robust networking strategy for the 21st century that will ensure your competitiveness in the marketplace. Building up a large number of connections within your closed network is easy because it is comfortable, but it is not where the value lies. As you build and nurture your network, ask yourself: are you following these principles or are you falling into old comfortable habits? While there is a lot of competitive advantage to be had by the person who can bridge the gap between separate networks effectively, it is not always an easy thing to do. It is often very enticing to stick with what we know best, but becoming a high performer requires stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into the discomfort that comes from the increased uncertainty that will ensue. Being an effective networker in the 21st century requires you to hold many different and often contradictory viewpoints; join the dots that others may not see and translate that insight into a language that people will understand. Now that we have a better understanding of how how social networks affect business and our ability to get things done, now what? THE VALUE OF OUR CONNECTIONS GROWS WHEN WE REINFORCE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONNECTIONS.
  32. 32. Thank you for reading our guide to networking in the 21st century. JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ONLINE: WWW.HEADRESOURCING.COM

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