Never underestimate the power of a network. Where we each sit in the web of people around us influences almost everything. As today’s guest explains, recognizing the patterns that exist within networks and consciously building them is the key to positively changing patterns as individuals and within organizations.
In This Episode:
- The COVID pandemic’s impact on relationships [1:30]
- Why we should care about strategic networks [3:47]
- Shaping networks for creativity within organizations [8:00]
- How leaders can help people build more beneficial strategic networks [12:48]
- The challenges of building relationships and networks in the world of remote work [17:15]
- Methods for fast-tracking relationships [25:00]
- How to be more present with our digital interactions [26:43]
- Creating connections at an organizational level [31:45]
About Marissa King
Marissa King is a professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, where she developed and teaches a popular course entitled Managing Strategic Networks. Over the past fifteen years, King has studied how people's social networks evolve, what they look like, and why that's significant.
Her most recent line of research analyzes the individual and group-level behaviors that are necessary for large-scale organizational change. King's research has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and on National Public Radio.
What Networks Look Like Today
As an expert in networks, King explains how they are changing in the midst of the current pandemic. As is the case in many crises, people’s networks tend to shrink as they look closer for support. This will likely have long-lasting effects and we shouldn’t expect the pre-pandemic networks and relationships to fall back into place when this is all over.
This is important to keep in mind since everyone’s network has a profound effect on them. From health, both physical and mental, to job performance, the web of people we interact with is one of the largest influencers.
Networking for Creativity's Sake
When we continually interact within the same circle, creativity stagnates. Seeking out new voices and diversity to bring within your network and to reach out to naturally leads to new ideas and innovation. Since everyone has an existing network, organizations should consider the value of these when bringing in new people.
As the very nature of many networks has been shaken by the pandemic we need to rethink many aspects of interpersonal interaction. King urges us to focus on having a few deep connections instead of many surface-level ones. It’s not the size of the network that matters. Rather, it’s the quality of the bonds between people that will see us through these tough times.
“Often when people are thinking about their network they’re thinking about who can I get to know. A much better way of thinking about it is where I should be going.” [6:49]
“Having these shared peak experiences where you get together and hotwire relationships - that you’re doing something with a shared mission or a shared purpose - really can invigorate relationships in a way that will carry you for far longer than you would have imagined.” [21:56]
“It’s extraordinarily rare for someone to be listened to and just given the space to be. Allowing that quality to infuse your interactions really can allow a strength of connection that otherwise is impossible.” [25:34]
It takes intentional effort to break out of our natural networks and seek out change. When we are more reflective about who we interact with and the connections we create, more creativity and innovation will follow.
Links & Resources:
Social Chemistry by Marissa King
“Getting Closer at the Company Party”
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