Guest blog by David Blackburn, Chief People Officer, Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Back in 2015 I was fortunate enough to study under Professor Lynda Gratton at the London Business School as part of the Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Organisations programme. If you’re not already familiar with Lynda’s work, then you should be – she is one of the most influential business professors in the world; an award-winning writer and she has been helping shape our attitudes to the future of work for the last two decades: everyone should read The 100-Year Life!
One of the many things that resonated with me during this incredible course was exploring the power of networks. What do you do when you are faced with a challenging problem to be solved; a demanding new project or a response to your members? Do you deal with it yourself – perhaps you think you have all the answers?
In my last blog I shared my thoughts on the increasingly complex and fast changing world around us – in this environment what we all need is a network of people that we can turn to for advice, support, professional development and friendship. As Lynda Gratton describes it in her book The Shift – you need to assemble a posse!
In the Western movie tradition, you wanted your posse to be as big as possible – its value was in its horsepower – as it rode across the arid plains to save the neighbouring town from the baddies! Today, it’s not so much about size but the depth and speed of knowledge these individuals bring to helping you to solve your challenges.
Ask yourself the question – who’s in my professional development network? People who support your career – for example: making introductions and supporting your initiatives? How many senior sponsors or advocates do you have? Another question: who’s in your advice network: offering advice and assistance; informing you about organisational priorities, linking you to critical information?
And finally – how many friends do you have? Do you have a best friend at work? Not Facebook or Twitter or Instagram followers but people who know you well and you care about and trust. It’s a mix of all these network groupings that makes for a great posse.
It’s also important not to confuse networks with networking! Traditionally networking is all about pushing – you identify people who could be helpful to you and then find ways to introduce yourself. But increasingly it’s not about pushing to create contacts it’s about attracting the right people to you – posses are most often assembled because they are attracted to each other. One way of thinking about your membership organisation is a posse of likeminded thinkers and professionals.
So, the key today is to create a space where people know what you’re doing – I’ve already mentioned social media, and this is where followers do add value – how do you share the challenges and opportunities you are grappling with and your achievements? As Lynda Gratton observes: ‘…It is through talking about the issues you are passionate about and the challenges that you face that it begins to be clear how others can ride with you…’
Apologies for stretching the analogy but I’m really looking forward to saddling up for memcom where so many amazing organisations will be sharing their incredible stories and I have no doubt finding new members for their posses – yee hah!
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is the official memcom Excellence Awards Headline Partner. We thank them for their continued support. David Blackburn will be chairing the People and Leadership stream at this year’s memcom conference in June. David will also be leading a session on ‘The 2020s workforce – are you ready?’. Click through for more details about the agenda for this year’s memcom.