What does taking a networked growth approach look like for individuals?
Individuals—whether working at an organization or as a solopreneur or freelancer—can adopt a networked growth approach both to build more resiliency for possible employment or other financial disruptors and to support their career and financial prospects over time. Individuals can also adopt this approach to support their long-term personal growth and resilience.
Just in the case of a major weather event happening in a physical community, it takes time for systems to respond. It is often the people directly around you who will offer the most support in those first critical moments. Without a trusted network of mutual support and benefit, you are left in a more vulnerable place during times of change or crisis.
So what does it look like to take a networked growth approach and become a better network builder?
It first requires some reflection and analysis on how effective you are at building connections with others in your network. When you look at a network map, you will see dots with lines on them. The dots (or “nodes”) represent individuals, organizations, groups that you are in relationship with. The lines (“ties” or “edges”) represent aspects of your relationship and how you interact.
In-depth network analysis can assess the health of a network through its nodes and ties, but with beginners we focus on their ability to build strong ties. Every individual can leverage their unique expertise and relationship-building strengths.
In the Network Builders program, we work with teams and cohorts of individual skill builders to analyze where they have previously added value for those they are in relationship with. We ask learners to reflect on what expertise (defined broadly) they have that could benefit others. We also look broadly at the patterns of where learners consistently add value for others. This could be hearing consistently that people love coming to the learner when they need to process something or identify solutions to a problem. These patterns of high-value interaction are moments of success which we leverage for future networking building.
What’s your expertise?
EVERYONE has expertise, not just related to your professional job scope, that can benefit those you are in relationship with.
For example, two years ago, I took a sabbatical after experiencing extreme burnout as a CEO leading a remote company and a family of online learners suddenly at home through the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. During my sabbatical, I did a complete health intake and re-evaluated how to live a healthier lifestyle in almost every aspect of my life. I discovered I had several food sensitivities that were affecting my body. I love to prepare homemade meals, but given my new dietary restrictions, I had to re-learn how to cook and bake with my kids to accommodate a gluten-free/dairy-free diet. I now have expertise in changing my diet generally, in eliminating gluten and dairy specifically, and in making the transition as a family—all of which I could share with others.
Success can look different for each individual, but the goal of the Network Builders program is to empower participants to define and begin building their long-term success through the networked growth approach.