“It is often said that employees are responsible for building and maintaining their own network, because relationships are mostly based upon personal likings or functionalities. That is true, however from an organization-wide perspective there is also a need. Organizational networks should be sustainable and remain after the employee leaves the organization. By nature, all relationships can be seen as personal, but they are also crucial to and an inherent part of an organization.”
This quote from Chapter 10 of the book Managing Authentic Relationship, a chapter written by Gerty Smit of the Hotelschool The Hague university, is about a common misunderstanding in relationship management. A professional relationship management not only requires professional networkers but also a facilitator and enabler of the networkers, the so-called ‘Manager of the Network’. The networker in the organization will relate to the individual relations identified while the Manager of the Network has the overview to orchestrate the bigger – relationship – picture:
- The networker: those internal stakeholders building and/or maintaining a network (this is a role; this can be almost every employee within an organization);
- The Manager(s) of the Network of an organization: those responsible for the facilitation and management of the entire network of an organization.
“Being professionals, we are all networkers and we all have different ways of being part of a relationship. We all have different kind of working relations (in- and externally) and also one of more different networks we (more or less) participate in. People always know other people, in formal or informal relationships, while doing official tasks, but also during lunchtime or on a social occasion. This can lead to complications; the information that is shared can come from different perspectives but also with different purposes. Roles might be unclear or overlapping and the information that is shared might be lost because of that.”
Networks should not be shaped at random, but in such way that they contribute to the goal of the entire organization
“Networks should not be shaped at random, but in such way that they contribute to the goal of the entire organization. To achieve this, a network should be structured and transparent. Access to networks is shared among colleagues and the organization benefits from each other’s relationships.”
The Manager of the Network is there to serve this goal. The Manager of the Network serves the overall goal and purpose of the organization and is among others responsible for:
- “Translating the overall strategy of an organization into a Networking Vision and Relationship Management Strategy and communicating this vision and strategy in the organization;
- Mapping and managing the internal stakeholders, defining roles/responsibilities and assisting the Networking Teams in mapping and managing the external stakeholders;
- Forming the Networking Teams: linking the networkers within the organization to the external stakeholders, those operating in the same network;
- Measuring results, formulating the KPI’s and calculating the Return-on-Relationship;
- Supporting the networking activities by making sure the CRM-system is fit to support the Relationship Management activities and used properly by the networkers, by developing basis-routines in mapping and managing external stakeholders and by developing a training program for the networkers;
- Keep the overview of data management and all social media activities;
- Developing networking activities such as networking events, newsletters etc.;
- Keeping track of the external networking activities the organization is involved in.
To manage and facilitate a network in a coordinated way, the Manager(s) of the Network stimulates the networkers towards certain goals by dividing roles and tasks. A so-called transactional leadership transform the networkers by focusing on the importance of the Relationship Management and its purpose, as well as the added value of the networkers when working towards the Relationship Management objectives.”
Read other articles about the book Managing Authentic Relationships on our blog(s):
The Value of Protocol in Building Networks (on Protocolbureau.com)
Managing Authentic Relationship is a book about relationship management and networking published by Amsterdam University Press:
Find more information about the book on relationshipmanagement.eu/book
Order the book online at Amazon or Barnes & Nobles, and in the Netherlands at Bol.com and Managementboek.nl
Read the reviews about our book on Goodreads.com
Follow our postgraduate-programma ‘Strategic Relationship Management’ of which the book is the theoretical basis: relationshipmanagement.eu/srm.