Familiarise yourself with the key features and functions of effective networks below as a reference when completing the Core Questionnaire that follows.
Key Features of Effective Networks
- Shared purpose and identity: members of effective networks display strong network awareness. They feel ownership and they know why the network exists. They have a shared purpose. Members also share a common language and collective narrative.
- Address big issues/ have a compelling purpose: effective work-based networks that sustain themselves normally address big/ compelling issues that are a high priority for key ‘sponsors’ or stakeholders/ members. They are focused on issues that keep network leaders awake at night and therefore - are likely to receive support.
- Meet member needs: while effective networks generally address big issues, they also have to be of day-to-day benefit to members in the network. Ultimately, they either have to help members to do their job or help them to create a change they are passionate about.
- Adapted leadership: leadership of networks is different to other forms of leadership. Power does not come from organisational hierarchy. Effective networks benefit from leaders who have well-developed skills and the time to perform their role.
- Strong relationships and ties: effective networks are characterised by strong personal relationships, high levels of trust and awareness between members. Leaders can play a key role in developing trust and a culture of sharing, using face-to-face to maintain relationships and ties.
- Generate helpful outputs: as well as ‘connecting people’, effective networks tend to generate outputs that are helpful to other network members. Outputs are often developed or co-created based on experience ‘on the ground’.