Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Collective Genius of Your Network

I was talking to a nurse career coaching client the other day, and we were discussing the importance of networking. During the course of the conversation, I mentioned the notion that the power of your professional and personal network is the collective genius that can be tapped when you need it most. What I took away most from that conversation is the idea of collective genius, and how I'd like to share it with you.

We've all heard of geniuses, like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, or Simone de Beauvoir. And many of us are geniuses in our own right, whether it be of the intellectual type, or genius that manifests emotionally, spiritually, relationally, or otherwise.

Collective genius is something altogether different from individual genius. When thinking about how to create a community of friends and colleagues with whom you can manifest true symbiotic relationships, your network is the place to begin creating just that.

Collective Genius in Your Network

Your network is a tapestry, a web of interconnected and potentially interdependent individuals who represent an enormous brain trust of skill, expertise, and deeply held knowledge.

As a savvy professional, it's incumbent upon you to create lasting relationships with other professionals in the interest of your mutual advancement and success.

You see, when you're looking for a job, wanting to move to another region of the country, or attempting to begin a research initiative, your network is the first place that you can go for support or ideas. That brain trust is truly only a keystroke or phone call away, and you can reach out at any time, asking for input or suggestions when you're ready to receive such invaluable feedback.

Networking and Mutuality

Did you notice that, in the preceding paragraph, I wrote "your mutual advancement and success" when describing the ultimate goals of your networking endeavors? That's because mutuality is the key to networking. Face it, when you bring someone into your network and they become a member of your personal brain trust, guess what? You're also a member of their brain trust! That mutuality is important, since being a giving person is one of the keys to fully receiving. After all, in the end, givers receive more than takers, don't they?

Own Your Network

When I say that you need to own your network, I don't mean that you "own" the people in it, or their ideas. What I mean is that you can truly "own" the knowledge and collective genius of your network by realizing its power, and deciding to tap that genius at key times in your career. Most of us don't think about the sheer value of our network, but internalizing its value is one of the first steps to truly knowing that you can utilize it for the advancement of your career and professional trajectory at the most crucial moment that present themselves. 

Whether you're a nursing student, seasoned professional, or you're in mid-career flux, networking (both in person and online) has never been more smart as a career development tool.

In my latest podcast (The Nurse Keith Show, Episode 3), I discuss the crucial importance of professional networking, and I encourage you to listen in and consider activating your networking muscles right away. After all, the collective genius is indeed available to you, so why not allow yourself the pleasure of tapping its power?

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