Maintaining A Thriving Global Professional Network

Gavin Consulting - Leadership - Global Mindset - FlagsAs a Najafi Global Mindset scholar while attending the Thunderbird School of Global Management, I often enjoy revisiting nuggets of wisdom from my time there.

Do you consider yourself a strong networking person? Are you an effective communicator?  Do you have a personal story and brand that you enjoy sharing? Is it authentic? Are you ready to establish strong ties across cultures in other countries to work and lead globally? Trust me, the real juice is in sharing your story, not just your business card. Doing so gives serendipity a chance to blossom.

It’s up to you, however, to create opportunities within your network. You’ve got to get out there and grow a quality network to help your story bloom into what it is to become.

Here’s an excerpt from a Najafi Institute post. It features a great checklist to help you maintain and grow your global network.

Najafi Global Mindset Institute’s 7 Tips to Maintain a Thriving Global Professional Network

Maintaining an active global network can be a challenge if you aren’t currently in a global role or if you are focused on a particular region.  So we’ve put together seven tips to keep your global network alive.

  • Connect with influential people in your own organization and industry – Identify key connections inside, across, and outside of your organization by asking colleagues.  Then ask for a warm introduction.
  • Build relationships before you need them – Periodically engage people in your network in dialogue. Friendly conversation is the starting point for deeper friendship and trust.  This can be personally fulfilling, and it also opens doors to new information and new connections over time.
  • Actively seek input from people in your network – Many people enjoy helping others by providing suggestions or pointing them to resources.  It can be a great way to boost the confidence of your colleagues, as well as helping you with an issue at hand.  Their ideas will enrich your work and will help you get to know them better too.
  • Identify a mentor in your industry or organization who is good at networking and learn from him/her – Networking is an art.Those who are very good at it make it seem effortless.However, in reality these people are tending their connections in ways big and small on a continuous basis. Connect with people in your industry or organization who are very good at networking and ask them for their tips.Shadow them if you have the opportunity.
  • Diversify your network – Examine how diverse your network is and make a concerted effort to connect with colleagues and business partners outside of your normal circles. You could consider joining new professional or social organizations, or building your contacts in a particular field or region.
  • Be a virtual extrovert – If you work on a virtual or geographically dispersed team, be sure to get to know members at a distance.  Regularly foster those connections through a variety of communication methods.Email, phone, and web platforms are all useful for communicating messages, but make sure you make efforts to get to know others too.  Sharing interests, hobbies, and even photos adds a personal element that can create stronger bonds.
  • Remember that it is the quality of your network, not the quantity that really counts – Don’t let your headcount on LinkedIn or other social, professional networks fool you. Numbers mean nothing when those connections aren’t plugged in.For example, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggested through his studies of social relationships in the 1990’s that there is a limit to the number of relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.That number is about Dunbar’s research was done prior to the internet and the explosion of social networking tools, so it may be possible to grow that number now.While technology makes communication easier, the question remains: Are you fully plugged in?

Using these tips, I continue to engage with quality members of a growing global network. As a result, new opportunities, knowledge and insights flow in at every turn.  For other leadership success tips and coaching, contact Gavin Consulting today.