I recently discovered that I am a ‘network node’. I’ve always known this, of course, but never knew it was a ‘thing’. I am not alone in my node’ing (Latin nodus, ‘knot’) and there’s a lot of us about. The importance of nodes and node’ish behaviour (I made that term up!) is becoming more relevant as our networks become increasingly distributed and diverse. With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share 3 network node behaviours I believe we will all need to embrace for future success.
1. Helpfulness – the most overlooked element to building an effective, efficient communication network is social capital. Margaret Heffernan goes into a lot more depth on this subject in her book ‘Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes’ however, she puts it down to four elements trust, knowledge, reciprocity and shared norms. Word of warning on this one, helpfulness does not equal doormat, so be careful not to be exploited in your useful endeavours
2. Empathy – If you can see the business through the eyes of others and articulate in their language/culture you’re creating a redistribution point. This communication allows information to be shared quickly and in a way that suits that group. A word of warning, though, be careful not to dilute the message or worse still add your own bias. Empathy also helps drive creative conflict which, done well, generates social capital.

  1. Sponsorship – There’s nothing nicer than to be put forward for new projects, roles, and responsibility by people who think you can do it and are prepared to back you. Identifying talent in your organisation and developing these individuals by giving them stretch projects, encouraging them when they fail and giving them the limelight amongst execs fuels the virtuous circle.