Social networking has become more prevalent in today’s workplace. The reason for this is that a diverse network enables people to perform by executing more effectively. According to Cross and Parker (Authors of The Hidden Power of Social Networks) “Performers have a diverse network”. Therefore to be a high performing employee you must be provided with tools so that you are able to discover (find) resources and build your network of contacts – company, clients, partners and suppliers.
To develop a network, you must be able to discover contacts (subject matter experts) using your existing contact base and or using tools such as linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/). For those not familiar with Linkedin, it’s a tool that provides functions for discovering and creating networks.
The tools enable you to:
  • Create a profile
  • Add people to your network as you meet them
  • Enable people to discover you easily
  • Search and browse your contacts networks
  • Connect with offers as required
As you can imagine, the power of your network grows exponentially as your contacts further build their networks.  The result is a great tool for discovering the capabilities of your contacts and finding skills or persons that make those critical client introductions.
Why are social networks important? There are three reasons; 1) standard sales related agendas, 2) influence and 3) being able to get things done! Another interesting aspect is that of Cross and Parker (The Hidden value of Social Networks), their studies found that performers developed diverse social networks. Essentially, they are well connected and hooked into the organization and with their clients and business partners.

Interested in social networking? The following are some great books:

  • The Hidden value of Social Networks – Cross and Parker
  • Influencing and Collaborating for Results – Duke
With Social Networking becoming more important, I would expect more products to be available that enable people to build their own networks and leverage others. Though tools will facilitate the process it won’t replace the face time required between people to establish credibility and lasting relationships.
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