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Joe,

One of the key steps to taking back work and putting it on our terms is building a network (or as we like to call it, your posse).  In today’s world, there is no excuse for not having a big, robust, powerful network.  Social media presents us with tools that make it easier than ever before to connect to people, develop relationships, and stay in touch.

The reason to build network is to cultivate and build up social capital.  Social capital are the resources available to us through our relationships with others.  The value of social capital can show up in many different ways.

  • An expert in your field who will take your calls to provide you with advice when you get stuck on a project or need another perspective
  • Someone who  helps you find sales leads by recommending you or your product to others
  • The IT guy or gal who will let you call them directly instead of creating a ticket to expedite getting your computer working again quickly
  • A colleague with a position of influence within the organization who will back your proposal to help you gain approval or funding
  • An individual who will call you if they hear any conversation that might affect your work (i.e. they help prevent you from being blind-sided)
  • A mentor from outside your organization who will help you take the best steps to develop in your career
  • Friends in other companies who can quickly help you get interviews and opportunities should you decide you need to move on
All of these things are pretty valuable and none of that value exists outside the context of the relationship you have with another person.  We now live in a networked world.  Those who have the biggest, baddest posse will be able to do things that others can’t.
I got my last HR executive role in spite of my limited knowledge in some disciplines of HR.  While I wasn’t an expert in my own right on every topic, my future employer came to believe that I had such a great network that when I ran into a question I couldn’t answer, I could get on the phone with one of my contacts quickly and find the answer.
A great network can create leverage much like exceptional skills and abilities can.  If you are able to do great things through your network, you employer will come to realize that your network goes with you if you go.  And, they will realize that people with that kind of network don’t come along too often.  That’s leverage.
Tomorrow, I’ll tackle the role that fierce authenticity plays in taking back work.
Until then . . . . shake things up a bit.
Jason

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