Phil Willburn – Networked Leadership

You aren't that special unless all your friends are too …

The real value individuals bring to team is their external relationships. A team can no longer act alone, siloed, without any input and influence from its members’ networks. This is not just a team shift or even an organizational shift, but a societal movement. We are in the age of networked individualism, where the value we bring to teams and organizations comes from our relationships.

Here are 5 new rules for bringing value to a team or group:

1.    Develop meaningful ties into social circles that serve your team’s purpose

If your team is developing a new product line, make sure you have meaningful personal relationship with the product subject matter experts, the marketing team lead, and at least a couple of customers (on an individual level) that would be interested in this product. These ties ensure that the information you bring to the team is relevant to the team’s goal.

2.    Segment your identity

You don’t always play the same role in every group, so don’t act like it. Some groups you are there to observe, some you are there to lead, so don’t over invest in a segment that is not important to your current team’s challenge. Why?? It takes so much time! Recognizing your value to a team (leader, observer, expert) enables other members to also recognize their value to the team, making a stronger, more informed team.

3.    Build high levels of trust and social capital in each network segment

You don’t need to lead every network segment to build trusting relationships. Trusting relationships can occur with every role, it just requires a mutual give and take and a level of depth. You also don’t need to build a trusted relationship with every person in a network segment. All you really need is one to develop a hook into the segment.

4.    Do not count on a single, tightly connected group of strong ties to find an answer

One group no longer has all of the answers. Organizations used to have a team of highly informed members, but in this age of networked individualism, information is scattered throughout an organization. So, don’t over rely on A-Team. It’s our nature to, but it’s also a huge pitfall because you could be losing vast amounts of networking capital from others outside this team.

5.    Monitor and manage your reputation— It’s your personal brand

No matter who you are or what your role is, your personal reputation will determine what relationships you are able to build. Nobody wants to build a relationship with someone known for using people (we all know these people). So, in order to be a person who can build trusted relationships, be a good manager of your relationships. Don’t use people, be genuine, and care for the stewardship of the relationship. Your relationship reputation will be your greatest asset.

The big question is. What kind of value are you bringing to your team with your relationships?

Discussion (2)

There are 2 responses to “You aren’t that special unless all your friends are too …”.

  1. Venesser Fernandes responded:

    · Reply

    Thanks for the insights here. I completely agree with you that in today’s networked connectivity one should still have values and morals in place. It is vital that networked teams share information and follow a model of care. Thanks again.

    • Glad that we are on the same page – thanks for the comments – one of my colleagues wrote a great guidebook for CCL called Selling Yourself Without Selling Out worth checking out: http://bit.ly/1ak5OHL

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