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Social networking vs. professional knowledge networking

Networks are about relationships. Social networking can include your interests and activities and gossip. Certainly it can be more but contrast it with knowledge networks.

Professional knowledge networking is knowing and being able to reach people who can help you find the knowledge you need to work smarter and faster. Robert E. Kelley in his book ‘How to be a Star at Work: Nine Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed’ concludes the chapter on ‘Knowing Who Knows: Plugging into the Knowledge Network’ with this:
“Without networks, the stars know, they are on their own. And to be on your own in this mind-boggling knowledge economy is to be lost.”

This is one of the 100 best business books of all time and I’m fascinated by this chapter because it is a smart way to work efficiently and effectively. There’s a whole lot of civility in it. Let me tempt you with some questions:

Do you have relationships with people of different job talents and skills?

Do you know and readily admit what you don’t know?

Do you build on what has already been done or is known?

Do you know people you can go through to connect with a person who has the information you need?

Is the best networking done face to face, on the phone or online in a group?

Do you break networking rules such as being rude, being demanding and trying to contact experts without an introduction?

Kelley writes that knowledge networking works on a barter system.
You need to have a specialty area you’re willing to share or be a valued connector. You need to understand the cost and benefit of asking for someone’s time. You need to give long before you receive. He talks about the critical importance of small courtesies and considerations, of being a model of Victorian manners. “In an economy where knowledge is the stock-in-trade of so many businesses, there are no reputations worse than being pegged as an idea thief, as a pseudo-star who stands on stage and acts as if there were no supporting players, or as a taker who doesn’t reciprocate.”

The book was published in 1998. Kelley spent 10 years researching the characteristics of star performers. I encourage you to find a copy. Maybe I’ll do more posts on the book; I’m only 90 pages in.

http://www.kelleyideas.com/pages/biography.html His site has a survey which I didn’t realize when I decided to use questions for this post.


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