Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.42 Network Mapping

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(understanding our informal network & gossip connections)


"...Our informal network is the one we rely on. It is the accumulation of myriad interactions every day at home and at work. The quality and the reach of this informal network is our social capital, with which we can access people we don't know and even work around people to achieve our goals..."

Hilary Armstrong as quoted by Patrick Durkin, 2014

· It can be used in designing office space usage, eg around activity-based work, and/or organisational structures

"...So often, after a corporate restructuring, nothing works because the crucial connectors are unwittingly removed. Social network analysis is being used to figure out who gets work done..."

Joanna Gray 2014

Network mapping or " network analysis can reveal that your most important employee is someone whom you had never heard of...... most executives have no idea that these trusted advisers, key opinion makers and change agents exist within their company, let alone who they are. These people have the ability to accelerate change or to kill it...... management doesn't know what the social dynamics are, lower down in the organisation. This is the employees'  unfiltered views about who talked of whom, who works with whom, and whose opinion matters..."

Patrick Durkin, 2014

These maps show the reality of how an organisation works. For example

"...You can hide in a big office and behind a big title but there is nowhere to hide on these maps..."

Cai Kjaer as quoted by Patrick Durkin, 2014

The organisation's structure around decision-making and communications are different. For example, staff will approach each other in separate departments, ie go across the silos, and not necessarily go through 'proper' hierarchical channels. Most managers have an impulse to tightly control the process. However, you need to be able to trust people to work out the challenges directly with each other without having to check for managerial permission

· It can identify bottlenecks, such as a person who is contacted by many people but is a sticking point, ie fails to delegate and/or make quick, effective decisions; can expose isolated cliques of workers who may not be collaborating effectively and/or preventing other people/networks flourishing

· Need to identify key personnel to ensure that the right messages are filtering down during the informal discussion sessions like around the water cooler. "Motivators" can help convince the "fence sitters" to come on board and minimise the impact of "detractors" of change or new ideas

· The exact profile of the secret powerbrokers is impossible to predict

. Where you are on the above graph can depend upon several factors:

- your genetic makeup - based upon analysis of over 1,000 adolescent twins (Fiona Smith, 2010), researchers concluded that genes are responsible for about 50 percent of your selection of friends, and whether you change groups regularly or stay with one close-knit circle of friends, ie

"... on average, people located at central parts of the network have a different genetic makeup than those located at the periphery..."

Nicholas Christakis et al as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2010j

- physical attraction - people with more symmetrical features attract more friends and people with similar characteristics or idiosyncrasies attract like

. Having close friends give you a greater reach into their networks which will include people that you don't know, ie casual acquaintances whose own circle of influence reaches beyond your own. For example, if you have 20 social contacts (5 friends, five co-workers and 10 family members) and each of them has 20 contacts and so on, it is possible to be connected to 8,000 people within 3 degrees of separation.

"... in an increasingly interconnected world, people with many ties may become even better connected while those with fewer ties may get left further and further behind..."

Nicholas Christakis et al as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2010j

· The use of network mapping can help answer some of the following questions:

- Should we go to activity-based working?

- Should we be flexible?

- Should we go open plan?

- Do we still need an office?

- What is the right degree of connectivity between groups of employees?

- Is there a lack of innovation and creative thinking?

It is a real balancing act between people, communications and technology

· Linked with network mapping is a growing field of people analytics where smart phone apps and other technology are used to track the way people work, communicate and interact. Thus able to map a significant number of relationships against many variables. This helps a company create the right level of connectivity between people and best leverage of the social fabric of the business.

· By using this approach Qantas supply chain efficiency increased by 15% and airline parts turnaround time halved from 26 to 13 days

· Need to design the workplace based on network mapping so that the right people are really in contact with each other. The further people are apart, the less likely they will communicate with each other, ie once people sit more than 50 meters apart, the chance of interacting with each other drops to almost zero (Allen curve).

organisational development change management

· Based on the concept of the need for staff to be physically near each other to maximise collaboration, some organisations like Yahoo are banning employees working from home

"...Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings..."

Yahoo as quoted by Patrick Durkin, 2014

Google's Mount View headquarters buildings resemble bent triangles to maximise casual 'collisions of the workforce'..."

Patrick Durkin, 2014

Sydney's Barangaroo development is using social network analytics for office design and a shift to activity-based working

· Another way to do network mapping involves

- naming the top 10 people you approach to get your work done

- explaining why you go to them, ie problem-solving, information, inspiration, signoff, etc

- evaluating how critical each is to getting your work done

Mapping the answers to each of these questions will show

- where the information is flowing

- where there are roadblocks

- which groups of people are collaborating and how much

- the essential links between the different areas in the organisation

- who the change champions and key cultural motivators are

It will encourage people to think beyond their own roles and teams to consider the organisation as a whole. With this information, you are able to

"...- dramatically shift the culture from command and control to collaboration in a very short time

- ensure change and transformation stick and do not take several years to implement

- build functional and cross fertilisation across silos to enhance efficiency and innovation

- identify and grow your next generation of leaders (without spending huge dollars on individual assessment tools)

- ensure that the most significant people are retained in a restructure

- challenge habitual thinking and improve relationships in senior teams

- identify and mobilise organisation knowledge rather than sacrifice it in the change process..."

Hilary Armstrong as quoted by Patrick Durkin, 2014

· How you answer the following questions will determine if you are a secret powerbroker, ie

please select the answers that apply to you

1. How often are you asked for your opinion or insight by colleagues?

A. Never or rarely

B. Sometimes

C. All the time

2. How important do you think your contribution is?

A. Useful

B. Important

C. Critical

3. What do you think is the primary reason people ask for your input?

A. Formal review or approval

B. To provide information

C. To help solve the problem

4. How energised do you think your colleagues feel about you after they have spoken to you?

A. De-energised

B. Neutral

C. Energised

If you mostly answered

- "A" (you are a bottleneck in your network, ie lots of people need your say-so to complete their work. But there are only so many hours in the day and your in-tray is always overflowing)

- "C" (you are a super influencer, ie people come to you because they know that even if you don't have the answers to that question, you'll know who they should be talking to)

. Network mapping can provide insights into areas including

"...problem solver, knowledge flow networks, leadership development, succession planning, developing community of practice and identifying and mapping internal and external stakeholder relationships and influencers..."

Andrew Rixon, 2011

. The objective is to represent the relationship between you and the people (internally and externally) with whom you interact. To understand how an organisation works, ie makes decisions, etc, you need to understand the organisation's informal structure, ie

"...The hidden hierarchies in people's minds ‐ the invisible org chart of political connections that exists in every company..."

Jack Welch et al, 2005

For example, knowledge workers feel that they are part of an external professional community that renders the organisational chart meaningless, ie

"...not only do they gain career benefits from networking, but they construct a sense of self from the feedback generated by their extra‐organisational connections..."

Bob Goffee et al, 2007

. The wagon wheel diagram reveals the network of conversations and power that makes an organisation work, ie the social networks that are very different from the formal management chart that begins with the CEO and heads southwards. Sometimes it shows that unlikely individuals are at the centre of things and the prominent stars are out of the loop.

It will show how the workforce interacts and their relationships; how work actually happens. For example, it will illustrate:

gaps between geographic and functional groups;

which operations work better with each other;

the importance of intra‐office relationships, ie connectivity and collaboration across the office;

who bridges the sub‐groups in the organisation (these people are more likely to get promoted more rapidly, enjoy greater career mobility and adapt to changing environments more successfully)

the basis for a new organisational chart/structure that more closely resembles "the way things get done"

. Network mapping shows the important relationships (social, organisational, etc), ie highly connected staff, who are not necessarily known to senior management. It will show who is connected, who are the outliers, who are the staff who span the different clusters. This can mean different things to different people. Staff clusters can be very positive if the key person is the hub of knowledge sharing. Or they can be negative as they act as blocker or gatekeepers. To increase communications and improve relationships, etc, some organisations set‐up "communities of practice" in which staff with similar interests are regularly connected by tele‐conferencing or meetings. Sometimes the highly connected people are often Personal Assistants, in HR and sales staff. The characteristics of a highly connected person are that they care, are good listeners and have good intentions. They are not necessarily extroverts.

. Remember: people join together in groups with particular patterns of ties, and these patterns can have important impacts on the way people behave. Furthermore, the way information flows along the networks can change behaviour and the shape of networks can dramatically change outcomes. Also, need to understand the impact of people's ability to influence others, especially if they are in the same network. For example, if people in your informal network foster workplace safety, then you also will most likely do so.

. The informal network will show where the real organisational power lies. Additional clues involve the implicit signals of power, such as

‐ the way people dress

‐ their body language

‐ how they position themselves in the room

‐ the words they speak

Network mapping will show how an organisation actually functions:

. Where the information is flowing

. Where there are roadblocks

. Which groups of people are collaborating and how much

. The essential links between the different areas in the organisation

. Who the change champions and key cultural motivators are

. Why people go to others for problem-solving, information, inspiration, sign-off, etc

Some uses of network mapping include

. Dramatically quick shift of the culture from command & control to collaboration

. Ensure change sticks quickly

. Build functional & cross fertilisation across silos to enhance efficiency, effectiveness & innovation

. Identify your next generation of leaders (without spending huge dollars on individual assessment tools)

. Ensure that the most significant people are retained in a restructure

. Challenge habitual thinking & improve relationships in teams

. Identify & mobilise organisation knowledge rather than lose it in the change process

. Most network maps will resemble wagon wheels. Some examples of network maps include

‐ a PA will have a very busy wagon wheel as the role requires communication with many people;

‐ another busy wagon wheel will be found in organisations that are very hierarchical with many silos: managers need to have many contacts to know what is going on elsewhere in the organization;

‐ a manager who was having problems with his/her staff and avoiding confrontation will have a wagon wheel that is lopsided, ie away from his/her staff.;

. This tool also provides a reliable way to check if staff are having the appropriate amount of contact with different stakeholders. For example, a sales manager should have frequent and varied contact with important clients/customers. Is the organisation's focus too much on a small number of clients in the same industry (what will happen if this industry has bad times!!!!!)? Once the important stakeholders are identified, ask the following questions:

What are their needs and interest?

What are the key drivers?

How can we engage them?

How can we best support them?

How can we best manage them?

. The network maps can be used to develop a new organisational chart and/or office lay‐out based on the attributes of individual staff and their relationships with others (including information and communication flows) ‐ both inside and outside the organisation. To help with this, staff can be classified as hubs, gatekeepers and pulse takers, ie

"...hubs receive information from all quarters and share it with almost everyone. Gatekeepers provide links between different departments and have the ability to speed up or slow down the flow of information. Pulse takers are well‐connected but more circumspect in passing on information, and may even alter it along the way..."

Luke Collins, 2006a

. Organisations are mapping networks of influence both inside and outside their organisations as a way to get ahead or find the next big thing. It has been claimed (Sarah Norris, 2013) that innovation takes place when networks meet and there is an intersection of different types of people so that there is a recombination of existing assets into new configurations, ie

"...'snooze, you lose' ethos is driving many companies to put aside their differences and shack up with rival businesses for mutually desirable outcomes..."

Sarah Norris, 2013

"... It's harder and harder to define what a company is any more, or to figure out exactly where the traditional boundary lines separating enterprise vendors, partners and competitors are being drawn. Two companies make compete viciously in one part of the world and still cooperate in another. They can also entwine themselves into each other's value chains..."

Accenture as quoted by Sarah Norris, 2013

Some examples

. Boeing has set up cross‐enterprise agreements and partnerships that with upwards of 50 businesses on the design, testing and manufacturing of its Dreamliner aircraft. Participants sharing in share risk as well it as rewards

. Endo pharmaceuticals (US) and Orion Corporation (Finland) announced a collaborative agreement to pursue the lucrative oncology drug market together. Both organisations are exchanging the basis for their competitiveness, ie ideas, processes and market strategies

. Apple's successful development of the iPod (2001) was the result of collaboration on technology and parts with Toshiba, Sony, Portal Player, Texas Instruments, Wolfson Microelectronics and Pixo.

. Birmingham and Abu Dhabi signed a 5 year deal in 2010 whereby billions of pounds worth of investment would go to the British Midlands city in exchange for advice on developing local government infrastructure. Abu Dhabi was awash with cash, while Birmingham was very short of cash but had a wealth of experience in local government that Abu Dhabi wanted

. Pharmaceutical industry ‐ 13 CEOs of the world's largest drug companies collaborated, using Bill Gates' money, to eradicate tropical diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion of the planet's poorest citizens.

. Car industry BMW (the world's largest producer of luxury vehicles) and Toyota (the world's largest carmaker) collaborated to produce a mid‐size sports car; similar collaborations have included General Motors and Peugeot as well as Daimler and Renault

. Change of Government ‐ a client used network mapping to determine the impact of a change of government, ie which persons, such as politicians, advisers, public servants, etc held the formal and informal positions of power in the new government.

These are more than

‐ establishing go‐to‐market agreements to fill capability, functional or technological gaps

‐ exercising mutual contractual obligations.

One of the challenges is to handle relationships across organisational boundaries as effectively as they do within these boundaries. Success is more than how the contracts are established, how marketing is managed and how work is documented.

Linked with the relationship are the areas of handling talent, leadership, culture and organisation. There needs to be a common base of knowledge and skills relating to the function and process areas involved in collaboration. Additionally, there is a different style of leadership required so that executives work together and no‐one dominates. Even though the collaborating organisations have different cultures, they must understand and respect each other so that they work together effectively in an atmosphere of trust.

. Draw a network map of people with whom you deal at your workplace and then check this with your job description, ie are you dealing with the right people to best achieve the outcomes required from your job description?


You are going to list all people with whom you have contact, both inside and outside your organization, and indicate their position level relative to yours.

. Within the organization, list those who are inside your division/unit separately from those who are outside your division but still inside the organisation.

. Then, on the other side of the page, list those with whom you have contact but who are outside your organisation, such as clients/customers.

. Now draw lines showing frequency of dealings between you and your contacts. The greater the frequency, the thicker the line.

(NB If you spend time working by yourself, draw a circular line from and to yourself)

. You can add extra dimensions:

i) describe communication quality by placing a number on each communication line, eg 1 = poor, 2 = OK, 3 = good

ii) describe the friendship links by placing a sign on the communication line, ie ‐ = negative, 0 = neutral, + = friend

iii) put arrows to indicate the direction of power flow, ie

The chart will start like this

organisational development change management


i) Level of responsibility/seniority

ii) Inside = inside your division or organisation; Outside = outside your division or organisation

Below is an example of the informal and formal organisational structure. On the left is the traditional hierarchical organisational chart with staff positioned by title, while on the right are the organisational networks which operate via connections and influence.

organisational development change management

In this example, it is interesting to examine the relative influence that 2 members of staff, O'Brien and Cole, have, depending on which type of network is represented. O'Brien has a high management position in the formal structure, but he is not as important in the informal structure. On the other hand, Cole, a technical specialist, has little management responsibility but he has direct access to the top manager (Jones) plus links with almost everyone else in the organisation. Thus Cole is a very influential and important person within the organisation, despite his lack of formal title.

An example of the use of a network map, ie Australian senior business women (Linda Nicolls) and her network

organisational development change management

‐ It has been found (Lynda Gratton 2007) that most people have around 7 strong relationships.

Having informal networks of people who are different from each other is important in innovation, ie bringing in new ideas. Furthermore, there is a case for having many more informal links and being a "boundary spanner", ie describe a person who has have many informal networked relationships with people who are very different from themselves.

(sources: Noel Tichy et al, 1994; Bob Dick, 1997; Jack Welch et al, 2005; Eugenia Levenson, 2006; Luke Collins, 2006 & 2006a; Bob Goffee et al, 2007; Fiona Smith, 2008g; Lynda Gatton, 2007; Fiona Smith, 2009d; Rose‐anne Manns, 2008c; Andrew Rixon, 2011; Sarah Norris, 2013; Patrick Durkin, 2014; Joanna Gray, 2014; Cynthia Scott et al, 1995; Lynn Fossum, 1989; Kerry Patterson et al,1996; Dennis Hall, 2006a; Michelman, 2007; Fiona Smith, 2008e; Fiona Smith, 2010i; Fiona Smith, 2010j)


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