How to Diversify Your Professional Network  

1 September 2018:

Diverse networks can foster new ways of thinking by connecting you to people whose viewpoints, insights, resources, and lived experiences differ from your own.

Consider a 1985 study by Carnegie Mellon researcher Robert Kelley and Janet Caplan, who analyzed the characteristics of exceptional engineers at Bell Labs. According to their research, IQ didn’t explain the difference between top performers and average ones; star performers approached their jobs differently. The most-productive employees proactively developed relationships with other experts — and these networks were significantly more diverse than their average-performing colleagues’.

More-recent research supports the notion that people who are connected across heterogeneous groups and who have more-diverse contacts come up with more creative ideas and original solutions. Author Frans Johansson explores the idea of “intersectional thinking” in his book The Medici Effect, proposing that the best ideas emerge from the collision of different industry insights. Despite these clear benefits, however, most people tend to connect with others whose perspectives, backgrounds, and cultural norms are similar to their own.

Rethinking what it means to network, and acting accordingly, requires ongoing work and intention, as I’ve learned firsthand. Throughout my career — on Wall Street, in technology venture capital, and in media production — I’ve fostered a professional network that spans industries. Networking is central to my work as an investor and producer; it’s my role to connect great people, identify partnerships, connect visionaries with resources, and cross-pollinate ideas.

Whether or not your daily work requires engaging with many different kinds of people, you can benefit from developing a network that inspires new ideas and challenges your beliefs. Here’s my advice for making this shift.

Read More

Source: Harvard Business Review

« Back   View List

Our Partners

The Corporate Leaders Network

Tangible Impacts of Accounting Transformation