Belonging to an Open Network

Writing on Medium, Michael explores the power of an open network as a contributor to career success, and uses it to analyse what made Steve Jobs so successful. Of course, we can equally apply the core idea to our individual, group, and organisational work too (please click through to Medium to see the chart):

According to multiple, peer-reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success.

In the chart, the further to the right you go toward a closed network, the more you repeatedly hear the same ideas, which reaffirm what you already believe. The further left you go toward an open network, the more you’re exposed to new ideas. People to the left are significantly more successful than those to the right.

In fact, the study shows that half of the predicted difference in career success (i.e., promotion, compensation, industry recognition) is due to this one variable.

With the multiplicity of tools available to us each day, we have access to an incredible array of people, connections, and information beyond what we already know. The opportunity, if used wisely, can have a significant impact on our work. Enterprise social tools, such as Yammer, Jive, or IBM Connections, provide ways of expanding your network within your organization. Social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, provide ways of expanding your network into any number of complementary areas.

Actually, one of the ideas I talk about in Re-Imagining Effective Work (slide 53) is to “study beyond your industry,” to be deliberate and intentional about looking beyond the things that everyone else in your industry is reading, thinking about, and discussing. Approaches for doing so include:
– Subscribe to a blog or magazine that isn’t core to your work, and read them often.
– Attend a conference in another discipline.
– Attend a user group for people / organisations who use different collaboration tools.
– Arrange a secondment to a foreign office for a month.
– If you’re in the public sector, arrange a secondment to a different agency for 3-6 months.
– Have coffee / tea once a week with people on the fringes of your network.

There are many possibilities. What are you going to do about it this week?

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