A Leader’s Perspective for Networking
One of the biggest challenges in running an organization in today’s times, is reconciling the use of org. charts with the increased demand for networking.
Networking, collective impact, collaboration, partnerships – all phrases trending heavily in recent non-profit research and strategic operations – place a strain on the usual benefit of org, charts. Who reports to whom and why. But often, org. charts strengthen functional silos so that people hesitate to go outside of the boundaries of their designated working relationships. This is why a leader’s perspective – negotiating skills and political astuteness – for networking are important.
It becomes increasingly clear that a single non-profit cannot solve a particular social problem by itself. However, the pride in and passion for the work an agency can do may cloud the reality of of a needed, broader perspective. What are the perspectives (the behaviors and thought processes) that today’s leaders must have to adapt to these changing times?
- They identify informal, invisible relationships that support their organization. They seek to understand how information flows through the complex web of relationships within and across departments, up and down organization levels, and outside of the organization.
- They develop and leverage hidden leaders. A network perspective allows leaders to recognize and support those people who are crucial to the work and understand the culture but whose importance is often overlooked in the normal, formal structure.
- They foster a leadership culture of collaboration and interdependence. Complex challenges cannot be addressed by individuals alone, or by organizations independently. They can only be solved by teams of people working collaboratively, across boundaries – hierarchies, functional silos, stakeholders’ interests, and even demographic differences.
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org