This morning in my Twitter feed I found an intriguing link via the Harvard Business Review (twitter.com/HarvardBiz ) for an article entitled, “Three Networks You Need,” by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback. You can find it here: http://blogs.hbr.org/hill-lineback/2011/03/the-three-networks-you-need.html
In it they describe three kinds of networks:
Your operational network: “the network of those you and your group need to do your day-to-day work.”
Your developmental network: “the collection of individuals whom you trust and to whom you can turn for a sympathetic ear,”
and Your Strategic network which they say “is about tomorrow. It comprises those who can help you do two critical tasks: first, define what the future will bring and second, prepare for and succeed in that future.”
Most of their emphasis is on this third network, the Strategic one, as they believe ” the forces that drive change in your field will probably come from outside your current world.” (Highlight theirs.)
As I read the article I thought about an exercise I did in seminary based on a book regarding pastoral care (whose title I have long forgotten) that asked the question, “Whose holding your trampoline?” in the context of who would you rely on and seek to have beside you in an emergency situation.
One of things that I have learned over the years is that I need to have a network of people in place to make sure that I am moving in the right direction as a person who is a husband and a dad, as well as a pastor and a leader. And I have been made aware of the need for some kind of “360 degree” leadership that allows me to see 360 degrees and have a greater self-awareness.
Reading this article has prompted some questions that I need to think about (and, if you are involved in leading others, formally and informally having “thinking time” is very, very essential.)
One that is very prominent in my thinking right now is this one: “As one gets older both chronologically as well as professionally, is there a change in the priority and mix of these three networks?”
In other words, as I age and have more experience, is it more important to me to have a stronger strategic network or an operational one or is a balance of all three most important ?
I appreciate this article as it gives me a fresh and vital perspective to my development as a leader.
These are my Thursday thoughts.