Internal Networking

I kindly invite you to a discussion about the internal networking that is the “closed circuit human network” – closed within the virtual boundaries of an organization. There is much talk about networking, but usually it is about the networking taking place outside the organization we represent.  We often consider networking as belonging to the socialites and elite.

I suggest an analogy with technological flavor.  We are all connectors working either “in series” or “in parallel”.

We are required by the job description and reporting line to act as an in series electrical circuit.  Everybody has one direct supervisor and many have direct subordinates.  In the organizational chart we draw and enforce by various means straight lines that add up to the hierarchical pyramid. These lines define our roles and responsibilities as wheels aligned in the great corporate mechanism.  They give the safety and peace of a predictable role.  At the same time, these straight lines do not accept deviations, regardless of their sign, plus or minus.  There is another interesting aspect: straight lines are dominant at lower hierarchy levels.

In companies, the parallel circuit becomes a performance requirement at higher management levels or for those positions defined mostly by inter-disciplinary collaboration such as project management.  In this layout there are several centers of power so any peer could become out superior, temporarily and/or under certain circumstances.  Subordination rules become multi-dimension, complicated, dynamic and sometimes tricky.

Let’s get back to the topic of internal networking.

In organizations, uniformity, homogeneity, consistency are standard requirements for smooth functioning.  They sometimes act against individuality – that “something” that makes us unique and valuable in our own way.

Internal networking is a method by which we can affirm our defining traits.  We can know other people that can know us – as we really are.  We can help others that can help us.  We extend our knowledge and acquaintances beyond the cubicle perimeter. Our expertise will be enriched by diversity, our view will increase its span, our understanding will deepen, our communication skills will be clearer and more convincing, and our contribution will be more public and appreciated.  As a consequence, our career will have opportunities that are inaccessible to those who prefer or hope that somewhere, somebody, sometime will see, appreciate and promote them – according to an intrinsic merit.

The groups (face-to-face or virtual) are based on natural “chemistry” or common interests.  Nothing new under the sun, but we forget we can build relationships beyond our finite circle of friends and vicinity.  These relationships may be extremely useful – for all purposes, whether intellectual or hierarchical.

The value of computer and brain networks goes hand in hand with the number of connections, isn’t it?