Oftentimes we intermingle our network with our Tribe. While there is value when your tribe includes people that are also part of your network you really want to focus on the composition of your network as a separate and apart sphere in your universe of influence.
So, what is a network and why is it different from your Tribe? Does it matter? To refresh on the makeup of a Tribe, visit my prior post: Your Tribe
Your network is a breathing, living thing. It ebbs, flows and changes with time. The tie to your Tribe is in those people that are your connectors. However, your Network should also include:
Advocates: People that speak up positively for you, your skills, personality, etc. when you are not in the room.
Sponsors: Those that are looking out for you. They identify opportunities for your growth and ensure you have a seat at the table.
Other Connectors: People that know people of influence that can help you get that coffee meeting, first interview, etc.
Associates: People you partner with on projects that give you and them exposure. These are those people that you connect with personally and/or professionally. They add value to your work life every day aka your work support group.
Your network also has value. It can give you leverage, access and opportunities that you would not otherwise have. Frankly your network can have a direct effect on your net worth. If you think about your network as a tool to manage your goals, the people you allow (emphasis on- you give them permission, they don’t just waltz into your life) into your network sphere are key to your success. You can choose to only invite people that have a similar back ground to you, sound, think or are in a similar career path. However, I would propose that because a network is about your growth and offering up support to others (think of you in other networks, which role are you), then you might want to consider that not all members of your network may be people that have your similar life/career experience. You should have people that you aspire to be like (career, influence, etc.) so you can learn from them and they in turn can get to know you and become sponsors/advocates. You should also consider people that are doing things way different from you. For example, you may be 100% onboard with a corporate ladder career. In your network you may want to have several entrepreneurs in different genres of work- what better way to learn and innovate than when mixing it up with people that are doing things differently.
Word of caution: If you think you are a lone wolf aka you do all things yourself, you might want to take a look around and count the ways others have actually made moves for you. It’s a humbling experience but it will help you to see that you do in fact have a network (we all do- humans are social beings) and that without it you really would not be where you are today.
So- can you name those in your network(s)? Are there people that should be in or that should not be part of it? There is a great site that can give you perspective on this: https://movingupusa.com