Research Watch:The Importance of Networks in Successful Organizations 

A recent post on the Gigaom Research Analyst Blog describes the results of a study that claim network performance is increasingly seen as the single most important characteristic of successful employees. The author writes, “Ten years ago, 78% of an employee’s impact on functional or business unit performance came from their individual task performance and only 22% came from network performance. Today, the breakdown is 51% task performance, 49% network performance.”

The article goes on to discuss the implications of this for performance reviews, but this starts the conversation too late. Another key benefit of social, other-minded organizations happens before the work is completed.

Photo: Jess Sochol

More agile and efficient organizations

When teams are thinking through the lens of their networks, they begin to think in terms of synergies and ways to broaden impact. Employees ask: How can I help? Who should be brought into the conversation? What expertise is needed? This outlook establishes a greater sense of purpose and a stronger tie with the organization’s mission. Rather than viewing impact within the confines of a team or department, they begin to think in terms of the big picture: What’s happening in R&D? What industries are we targeting? How are we viewed in the market? 

How to activate a social mindset in your company

Many companies rely on internal engagement platforms, such as an intranet or Yammer. These are great as long as they are actually used. Another tactic is to integrate network-based activities into actual business activities. For example, you could open business development brainstorms to other teams. The experience of literally looking to one’s network and relationships for the benefit of the organization puts a very real face to the type of outlook you want them to adopt in other business processes, too.  

Has your organization recognized the strength of its network? Share the tactics you used to create more social, collaborative cultures in the comments below. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share the best tips we’ve heard on our Twitter stream.
See how RelSci helps organizations leverage their networks–inside and outside the organization–to move business forward with a demo of the platform.

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