66% of executives believe that the professional network is essential for a successful career. But how do you know if you have a “good network”?
According to a study on professional networks, ‘Professional networks as a factor of success: paradoxes and divergences’, 66% of executives think that networking is essential for professional success. Young people under 30 are even more convinced of the usefulness of having a network: 86% consider it essential for a career.
How do you go about networking well?
Only 15% of executives have a well-constructed networking approach
On the other hand, and this is not the only paradox, if executives are convinced of the usefulness of having a good network, only 15% declare that their network is the result of ” a constructed process” . The others structure their network according to opportunities and meetings, in particular during higher studies or during the first job. It must be said that building a network takes time. For nearly one in two executives maintaining their network ” requires considerable effort” and 59% of executives questioned during this survey carried out as part of the HEC Trajectories Award for Women, believe that the network requires training and techniques, which ‘they do not necessarily master. 73% of executives also lack the time to build a good network. In valuenetworksandcollaboration.com you can have all the options open.
The right network: a question of size?
And besides what is the criterion for measurement if we have a good network? Apparently, size matters a lot since a majority of executives with more than 50 people in the network consider themselves well-endowed in terms of networking while those with a smaller network are less confident in the power of their professional circle. The study also notes “a virtuous threshold effect since beyond 50 people, more than half of respondents wish to devote more time to their network against 31% of those with a network of less than 20 people”. In other words, the more you have a good network, the more you want to deepen it and work on it again and again.
Real dating more effective than social networks
Professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Viadeo do not really seem to convince a majority of executives who are 44% to consider them effective in developing their network. Nothing beats real meetings, the first tool cited by executives to effectively build a network. Professional social networks are in their eyes more of a virtual address book than a concrete tool for networking. This is another paradox revealed by this study: professional social networks do not really serve what they are intended for at first glance.
The female network: quality more than quantity
The focus of this study on the networking of women executives is also very interesting. It shows another way of finding relays of influence by focusing on the quality of relationships rather than the number of people. While male executives have a network of 72 people on average, the network of women is tighter with 50 contacts on average. Another particularity of the feminine network, in addition to being more restrictive, it is mainly based on trust. Women executives do not collect contacts like men do and rely much more on proximity in building their network. As a result, their network is more of a support than a career asset.