Using Informal Networks
Every workplace I have worked in has it’s own set informal networks. What is an informal network? It is the communication channels and networks that exist in an organisation that is not in accordance with the official organisation chart and communication channels. It includes the conversations at the water cooler, the staff member that has influence across the organisation due their personality, rather than position and also what some would call is gossip.
Many times I see organisations fight with the informal networks for communication bandwidth. Informal networks are often seen as a threat to management and viewed as all bad gossip. However I wish to challenge this outlook. Yes, sometimes informal networks can be a negative gossip fest, however how can an organisation utilise these informal networks for the good of the organisation?
I am a believer in empowering one’s team members as much as practically possible. To this end I believe that someone that is good at developing informal networks can be rewarded with using these networks to communicate with the organisation and also to seek feedback from within the organisation. Instead of fighting with these influencers within the organisation, what if we worked with them?
One example I have used recently was the implementation of a social media platform for internal use by my team. Instead of appointing the administrator from the top and then implement the platform from top down, we appointed an administrator from the lower levels of the organisation. Someone that had influence. Yes, management still had administrator access, however the main driver was from within the organisation.
And what was the outcome? My belief is that we had a quicker implementation and take up of the platform than we would have otherwise if it was implemented top down and not through an influencer. The other outcome was that we provided leadership and growth opportunities to the influencer in making them responsible for the platform and accountable to management.
- Do you use your informal networks in your team or fight with them?
- What do you do to use your informal networks for?
- How do you develop the influencers in your organisation?
Posted on Thursday, 23 Jul 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Business, Communication, Entrepreneurship, Influence, Influencer, Informal Networks, Leadership, Life, Management, Passion. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.