Making The Network Work
Do you (or does your firm) belong to a network, where you try to collaborate with individuals and firms that are separate from your own?
Many individuals and firms attempt this, attempting to get the benefits of access to professionals in other locations (cities or countries) or in disciplines other than their own.
These networks exist in many professions, mostly to refer business to each other (or at least thatâ€™s where I see them working best.) Occasionally, members of the network try to join up to pitch for business jointly, thereby (if they are successful) winning work they would not have qualified to bid for alone. This does happen, but much less often.
In some case, the benefit is not in revenue increases, but comes from belonging to a group that shares best practices. This can be the biggest benefit if you have mechanisms to facilitate the sharing.
My observation is that itâ€™s very hard to make these networks work very well. The are not disasters, and if the memebership fees are low enough, they can be â€œclubsâ€ worth joining, but the potential is often unrealized.
Does anyone have views on the best ways to ensure that these networks really do benefit their members? If you are a member, whatâ€™s the best way to take advantage of any network you belong to?