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A lot of opportunities worldwide arise from our network and Sweden is no exception. This presents opportunities, but also challenges.

In 2013 Porter Gale published a book with advice on how to unlock the power of your network, coining the phrase “Your network is your net worth”. Nowadays, this is the motto which most people have in their professional lives, as roughly 70% of all our opportunities arise from within our network. In this blog we discuss the consequences that this new reality poses, what the advantages and disadvantages are of finding opportunities in your network.

The first and most interesting which arises when we tried to find out more around the topic, is on how little research is actually done. Most social networking research revolves around social platforms on the internet, but social research is not really trying to find out what consequences social networking in real life has. What is clear though, is that the advantages are widely celebrated, but that the disadvantages are not mentioned.

The advantages

Trust

Firstly it is important to understand the network itself and the concept of relationship. As we all know, a successful relationship is built on trust and this is also where the first advantage comes into play. We already know and trust the people from whom we get our new opportunity, as they are a part of our network. We therefore know that they are reliable and will not break our trust, as that will also have consequences for our personal relationship. This extra insurance makes opportunities from our network easier and safer to accept.

Communication and expectations

Another advantage of the close relationship is that it is very clear what you can expect. You most likely have communicated with the person from your network before, so he or she will be used with your style of communicating and vice versa which takes away any initial mis-interpretation. Furthermore the mutual relationship already taught you what you can expect from him or her and vice versa. This gives you a head start in comparison to a opportunity from outside your network.

Strengthening your network

The third aspect which we feel is very important to highlight, is that you strengthen the ties within your network by accepting or offering new opportunities. More involvement with members of your network will strengthen the ties between you. While being more involved with the people you know, you will grow closer together to them. This, in turn, will have a strengthening effect on both trust and communication within your relationships (which are both essential for success).

The disadvantages

You are missing out

The first and foremost problem with keeping opportunities limited to your network is that you are missing out. You are missing out on the things which are outside the boundaries of your network, the talent, the opportunities and the possibilities. By keeping your scope limited, you also limit the number of possible solutions to your problem. Let’s be honest: there are more people that we do not know in comparison to the number of people that we do know. So from a mathematical standpoint, the odds are that your perfect candidate or opportunity is outside the boundaries of your network rather than inside of it.

A common example of this are highly educated foreign professionals which move to Sweden, but have a hard time into finding an opportunity because they are not involved in the right networks. Another example could be professionals with a limited personal network, perhaps because they chose so or because of their limited social skills. Again: 70% of all opportunities are offered to people in our network. So chances are, if you are only using your network, you are missing out.

Your network remains limited

Another problem with keeping opportunities inside the boundaries of your network, is that you will have a harder time developing that network outside its boundaries in the first place. By attracting new candidates or opportunities outside your network, you can develop ties with people outside your branch or industry. These people may have a different perspective and can give you insight in what is going on outside your branch or industry, which can prepare you for future developments.

In conclusion

Keeping your opportunities within your network definitely has its benefits in terms of trust and communication. However, you might be trading this off against higher quality and new insights. As with most things in life, there is no one size-fits-all solution. In some scenario’s you want to rely on your trusted network and in others you need to find the best there is. Do you need help deciding which works best for you? Get in touch with us and see what we can do to help you find the right talent.

If you want to read more on how to get involved with your network click here or if you are already involved and want to harvest the power of your network click here.

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