According to Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas the most satisfied executives effective have wide networks and well ties to people who
- Provide personal support, such as colleagues who help them get back on track when they’re having a bad day or friends with whom they can just be themselves,
- Add a sense of purpose or worth, such as bosses and customers who validate their work, and family members and other stakeholders who show them work has a broader meaning, and
- Promote their work/life balance, holding them accountable for activities that improve their physical health (such as sports), mental engagement (such as hobbies or educational classes), or spiritual well-being (music, religion, art, or volunteer work).
How does one create such a varied network? Authors recommend a four-point action plan:
- Analyze: Identify the people in your network and what you get out of interacting with them
- De-layer: Make some hard decisions to back away from redun-dant and energy-sapping
- Diversify: build your network out with the right kind of people: energizers who will help
you achieve your goals
- Capitalize: Make sure you’re using your contacts as effectively as you can
Please read more in HBR Managing Yourself: A Smarter Way to Network article.
Rob Cross is a professor of management at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and a coauthor of The Hidden Power of Social Networks.
Robert J. Thomas is a managing director of Accenture Strategy. He is the author of eight books on leadership and organizational change, including Crucibles of Leadership, Geeks and Geezers (with Warren Bennis), and Driving Results through Social Networks (with Robert L. Cross).