MBA Blog: Professional networks are a major step on the business leader’s path to success

 

In a world characterised by busy schedules, it becomes more and more difficult for people to interact with each other outside the work environment.

This is one of the main reasons for the massive development of social media.

According to figures from the latest report published by the Office for National Statistics (2012) and Eurostat, Britons were found to be the second most active social network users in Europe, with 48 per cent of the adults aged 35-55 using social networking.

The growth in networking registered in the last years shows people’s need for an organised and intimate environment where they can discuss freely, raise questions or share concerns.

Business leaders are no exception to this.

However, the more senior their roles are, the more difficult it is to raise professional concerns publicly, without carefully considering the impact on their organisation.

Their interest in social media networks for professionals has therefore increasingly been focused on the search for a confidential, time-saving environment that can not only provide a forum for regular meetings between counterparts from different industries and anonymised peer consults, but can facilitate an introduction to complementary products like research reports and development programmes for specific roles.

Few companies are able to create and manage networks for their chief officers (CxOs).

Such firms enjoy access to significant industry insights as well as boasting a strong ability to capture tacit knowledge and transform it into explicit business knowledge.

They display the organisational skills needed to both bring peers together and to engage them in activities around innovative and role-specific topics.

Peer networking can impart a great value to learning organisations and to those of their leaders interested in being connected to the latest business practices in an organised, confidential and exclusive environment.

The cost of becoming a member should always be measured against the value derived from the network in terms of new contracts, clients, products or markets.

British business leaders understood the benefits of such membership, making the UK a world leader in providing services and products related to professional networking.

Having the necessary experience and expertise, the companies supplying networking services are now ready for the next step: creating and managing global networks that connect CxOs from different countries.

Such a project is complex and challenging because of the major differences in cultures, languages and business practices across continents.

However, if successful, a global network facilitates inward and outward investment and creates an unprecedented learning platform that provides international insights and uniquely fruitful business contacts.

Considering the increasing appetite of global investors for expansion, such a project will bring massive changes in the way worldwide businesses operate, in terms of strategy development, marketing and operations.

This means that today’s CxO engaged in a world-class professional network might become the successful global leader of tomorrow.

Anca Mandruleanu is product manager at Winmark Europe and an AMBA Global AMBAssador from Kingston Business School

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