Home > Networking > Understanding Your Corporate Network

Understanding Your Corporate Network

By: Lisa Koning - Updated: 1 Aug 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Corporate Networkunderstanding Corporate

Your corporate network can be a useful tool in developing your career, by giving you access to the right people to contact in various situations. But for it to work you need to identify who is in your network, and to keep it regularly updated. So let’s start at the beginning.

What is a Corporate Network?

Put simply, a corporate network is a way of understanding the power and authority that various people in your organisation have. You might be thinking of an organisation chart, and while it may look similar in design the content is likely to differ. Position does not always equate to power. For example, many organisations have people that don’t have official senior management positions yet their opinion is greatly respected, and to have them as a supporter can add huge weight to a decision. Equally, there can be people who have fancy titles yet have little authority.

It's a rushed mistake to assume an organisation chart is your network; it's not!

What does a Corporate Network Look Like?

It may be helpful to draw your network in a similar style to your organisation chart. But remember that your focus is on power and authority, not title. You may decide to map your entire organisation or simply an area that is your main focus.

It is often easiest to draw your network as a diagram, starting from the bottom and working upwards. Consider who people look to for guidance and leadership. Remember, it doesn’t have to reflect any organisational structure. It’s possible that people look to others outside their function. There may also be people from outside your organisation who have influence (for example, suppliers and consultants).

Understanding Your Corporate Network

This generally isn’t something that is public knowledge, and is most likely very particular to the person drawing the corporate network. An effective network for you is likely to differ to one drawn by someone else in your organisation.

Networking

Understanding who to go to and who you need to get as supporters is vital information for anyone moving ahead in their career. But knowing who is only part of what Networking is all about: effective networking is about building good relationships.

People are unlikely to support you if they don’t know you very well or understand what you are trying to achieve. Equally, you may be on the receiving end. Networking is about giving as well as taking. Over time you should be aiming to build up useful and supportive working relationships.

Where Are You in Your Corporate Network?

Understanding your position can be very useful in analysing your career potential. If you are a fundamental aspect of the network, someone that people go to for advice and leadership, someone that is sort after for their opinion and support, then you are clearly a valuable employee to the company. However, if you are not in such a position then you have work to do. Build up your working contacts and foster relationships. You make also need to do some self-promotion so that people understand the value you could contribute.

Your corporate network will change rapidly, just as an organisation chart can quickly get out of date. Over time you will build different relationships and gain greater responsibility and authority yourself. Keep your network regularly updated and you should be able to use the information to great effect. Remember it shows you both your strengths (the positive relationships you can rely on) as well as your weaknesses (relationships you need to improve).

Promoting to Your Network

People won’t know that you’re looking for a career change unless you tell them. Find out how to Promote Your Career Change Aims To Your Network in our feature in the Networking Category of this site.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Catalina
    Re: Changing Career to Become a Social Worker
    Hi I'm a RGN,I'm working for four years in a nursing home and I'm looking for a change in Social Worker. What do…
    7 November 2019
  • Anu
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    Hi, I am a graduate of physic with electronics and am 22 and i want to be a mechanic. I interned as a mechanic in a car company but now i want…
    5 November 2019
  • Sunnygill19
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Hi Thinking about totally changing career path and becoming a social worker. I currently have an hnc in business administration with…
    21 September 2019
  • Lou
    Re: Becoming a Painter and Decorator
    Hi, I am a 31 years old Chef who is looking for a career change into the painting decorator industry. I always been painting…
    10 September 2019
  • Woody
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    Hi I'm 28 and work full time nights in a job I want to get out of and would like to study/train to become a motor mechanic. How would I go…
    2 September 2019
  • Abbyf38
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Hi! I’ve been a primary school teacher for 21 years (BEd Primary Studies 2:1) and have always had a burning desire to train/work as a…
    9 August 2019
  • Chantelle
    Re: Training to Become a Midwife
    Hi, I’m 29 years old. I’m currently a bar maid and part time nail technician and a mother of 3. My highest qualifications are 2…
    8 August 2019
  • Frankie
    Re: Becoming a Painter and Decorator
    Still looking for help to try and become a Painter decorator Please
    8 August 2019
  • Neilo
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    I have B.A (Hons) in Social Welfare Law, Advice, Practice and Guidance. How do I get to be a social worker. I got a 2:1 and three marks…
    29 July 2019
  • Helen
    Re: Finding Work Experience as an Adult
    Hi, I am looking for work experience so that I can gain more experience in administration/ receptionist, I have been out…
    28 June 2019