Know the People Who Make Your Organization Go—or Stop

Network organisation

We’re all familiar with the truism “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

People invariably use their personal contacts when they need to meet a tight deadline, get advice on an important decision, or learn the truth about a new colleague.

Increasingly, it’s through these informal networks —not just through traditional organizational hierarchies— that information is found and work gets done. Social networks can be powerful change tools as well; few people can resist the temptation to use their connections to discredit business transformation they dislike or to support proposals they favor.

Informal networks as an invisible enemy in times of transformation, if you don't know how to use them.

Most organizations, however, treat informal networks as an invisible enemy—one that keeps decisions from being made and work from getting done. to many transformation managers and executives, these intricate webs of communication are unobservable and ungovernable. as a result, they tend to work around informal networks or, worse, try to ignore them. when they do acknowledge the networks’ existence, executives fall back on intuition to guide them in nurturing this social capital.

Get to know the key people that help you reach the rest of your organization.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It is entirely possible to map informal networks systematically. In fact, if senior managers focus their attention on a handful of key role-players in the group, the effectiveness of any informal network can be enhanced. We've identified six common role-players whose performance is critical to the productivity of any organization. These are coaches, solid rocks, navigators, communicators, architects and visionaries.

Despite the enormous influence these role-players have within an organization, they are often invisible to managers. Because they rely on gut feel, gossip, or formal reporting structures for their information about their managers and employees, they often misunderstand the links between people, especially in large and distributed organizations. And because there are so many informal networks in an organization, the problem is exacerbated.

So the first step in managing informal networks is to bring them into the open. That can be done through a well-established technique. Once these network maps have been drawn, (transformation) managers can start asking the right questions of the right people. From that moment on, they start managing transformation from within.

Know the People or Humans Who Make Your Organization Go — or Stop.... Hence, our name UmanGo

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