NETWORK 7 & THE SCIENCE OF CONNECTION
Networking for the introverted, extroverted and the rest of us who are just plain scared!
The N-7 is designed to produce a number of outcomes. One of which includes a Career Advisory Board to help the client open doors to their ideal company (company list based on the ideal company profile).
Why work with a coach to leverage your network?
Robert Cialdini and the principle of reciprocation:
Reaching out for support from others can leave even the most experienced professional feeling indebted. Using Cialdini’s principle of reciprocation can neutralize the feeling by offering to reciprocate in a meaningful way.
Reciprocation can take the form of offering to take your benefactor to lunch or offer some other type of service in exchange for their help. Most times this is unnecessary because most people want to help.
Having someone do this outreach on your behalf is also a powerful way to signal to your network that you’re a savvy professional and have your career plan in hand. Successful business people understand the value of professional services and you need only look as far as the professional world of sports to know how helpful professional coaching services can be to execute on any plan.
“I was surprised by how authentic networking is when you assess your skills and values and then create a brand that is true to those findings.” - CIO reporting to the CEO of a $15B+ public company
The Network 7 is similar to a Swiss army knife in that it serves many purposes, depending on the context. At its most elementary, it serves as a professional endorsements sheet (see our sample in this blog). Social proof at its core, the endorsements sheet is similar to the quotes on the back of your favorite novel. The quotes are written by the reader and reviews are all the rage today. You only need to look as far as TripAdvisor or Amazon to understand the power of reviews.
Professional endorsements are powerful testimonials to your abilities and add to your professional equity. Third-party feedback also provides insight into your professional branding process.
Additionally, the Network 7 can serve as your Career Advisory Board helping you to strategize and open doors to organizations that match your ideal company profile—which is essentially the blueprint for tapping the hidden job market.
A key component of the hidden job market are your centers of influence. Centers of influence are people you know across departments, divisions, and industries who are able to help you access key people inside your targeted organizations.
"The idea that we’re all connected by just 'six degrees'—six other people—is entrenched in our folklore. The notion of six degrees of separation grew out of work conducted by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s. Milgram decided to investigate the so-called small-world problem, the hypothesis that everyone on the planet is connected by just a few intermediaries.
In his experiments, a few hundred people from Boston and Omaha tried to get a letter to a target—a complete stranger in Boston. But they could only send the letter to a personal friend whom they thought was somehow closer to the target than they were. When Milgram looked at the letters that reached the target, he found that they had changed hands only about six times. This finding has since been enshrined in the notion that everyone can be connected by a chain of acquaintances roughly six links long.
The principles that apply to social networks, and account for the six-degrees phenomenon, seem to apply to many other kinds of networks as well. That could have implications for understanding practical problems like how ideas spread, how fads catch on, how a small initial failure can cascade throughout a large network like a power grid or a financial system—even how companies can foster internal networks to cope with crises."
Morse, Gardiner. The Science Behind Six Degrees. Harvard Business Review. February 2003.
Why have 6 when you can have 7?
A note from the team | Maddison (Career Success Strategist)
In my position, I get to speak with our clients first on the introductory call and I always mention the Network 7 as an example of the services we provide in our packages. It's a comprehensive strategy and while the concept it quite simple to grasp, the way we conduct it and how it produces results takes a little bit of explaining.
I have yet to hear a prospective client tell us they are not interested in this service. In fact, more often than not, people want to hear more about it and express their interest in the service. On a call I recently had with a prospective client, they said, "I love this concept. I have no idea where to begin or how to conduct outreach with a network that I haven't been actively communicating with."
We find that our clients' centers of influence become the ultimate tool they didn't realize they had. Maureen and I are just here to help you find it and utilize it.
It doesn't just become the blueprint for authentic endorsements, it also creates opportunities to open new doors and connect with individuals who have likely grown professionally since your last interaction.
I personally don't agree with, "it's not what you know, it's who you know." I believe it is both. Our Network 7 strategy helps emphasize the "who you know" while we also work on highlighting the "what you know."
The Network 7 process also acts as a signal to your colleagues that you are preparing for a transition.
Your brand speaks for you when you’re not present. The Network 7 works together with the 360Reach Survey in a unique way. Our clients find the process of outreach validates their achievements and supports their career transition by helping them to open doors otherwise not available.
A career-long endeavor, your visibility plan is essential to your positioning as an industry influencer and thought leader.
An untapped component of the “Hidden Professional Network” is mentorship. In my experience, most professionals (at absolutely every level) believe that mentorship needs to fall under a corporate program. Not so. You can ask your network(s) for mentorship on an informal basis (we have a script for that). Establishing an informal (but consistent) mentorship program can include (or exclude) your Career Advisory Board.
To sweeten the deal for your prospective mentors, you can offer to compensate them for their time. I’ve done this often myself and while most will not accept any form of compensation, the gesture of the offer is enough to crystalize the arrangement. Even if the mentor will not accept compensation, I will deliver some type of gift to the mentor, such as a coffee card, flowers, tickets to the game, or some other token of appreciation.
Offering a mentorship arrangement with a defined period provides a framework for the arrangement. I suggest a 3, 6, or 9-month arrangement of monthly meetings (telephone, virtual, or in person). This serves as a probation period and helps to manage expectations for the mentor. The mentor now understands what is expected of him/her and if you additionally offer a suggested agenda for the monthly meetings in advance, even better!
What will the collection of endorsements look like?