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Networking a web of talent

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,Team Building

You may be LinkedIn, but is the talent within your organization linked?

The idea of networking talent with­in an organization is gaining traction. It’s easy to understand why when you consider what recent studies from McKinsey, Towers Watson and others reveal about the benefits.

An IBM survey, for example, showed that high-performing organizations are 57% more likely than other companies to provide teams with collaborative and social-networking tools.

Why? When talent can more easily collaborate—and when workers know how to tap into one another’s strengths—the whole organization benefits.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

Global design firm IDEO develops digital profiles for employees, describing their strengths and performance, which are shared companywide. Managers can tap talent necessary for a proj­­ect, based on employees’ project history, and employees can seek out opportunities. Taggable and search­­able, the profiles make it easy to uncover tal­­ent.

Lesson from a well-networked organization: Look at employees as individuals and as effective networkers, to find pockets of hidden talent.

At family-owned winery Gallo, employees going through a leadership-development program practice the art of tapping their networks. During a final exercise, as they work through a business case, they’re expected to leverage classmates as consultants and advisors, just as the company’s top performers do.

Lesson from a well-networked organization: High performers build connections to boost their own performance. Create mechanisms in your organization that allow everyone to rep­licate the behavior of high performers.

— Adapted from “Building a Well-Networked Organization”; Margaret Schweer, Dimitris Assimakopoulos, Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas; MIT Sloan Management Review.

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