Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Successful leaders have a knack for knowing whom to tap to get things done

How Leaders Create and Use Networks.
By: Ibarra, Herminia, Hunter, Mark,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 1

Successful leaders have a nose for opportunity and a knack for knowing whom to tap to get things done. These qualities depend on a set of strategic networking skills that nonleaders rarely possess.

Strategic networking plugs the aspiring leader into a set of relationships and information sources that collectively embody the power to achieve personal and organizational goals.

The key to a good strategic network is leverage: the ability to marshal information, support, and resources from one sector of a network to achieve results in another. Strategic networkers use indirect influence, convincing one person in the network to get someone else, who is not in the network, to take a needed action. Moreover, strategic networkers don't just influence their relational environment; they shape it in their own image by moving and hiring subordinates, changing suppliers and sources of financing, lobbying to place allies in peer positions, and even restructuring their boards to create networks favorable to their business goals.


Herminia Ibarra ( is the Insead Chaired Professor of Organizational Behavior at Insead in Fontainebleau, France, where she also directs the Leadership Transition, an executive program for managers moving into broader leadership roles. Her most recent book is Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career (Harvard Business School Press, 2003). Mark Hunter ( is an investigative journalist and an adjunct professor of communications at Insead. He is the author of The Passions of Men: Work and Love in the Age of Stress (Putnam, 1988).

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