Category Archives: Relationships

Networking: 5 Circles of Influence

We underestimate the amount of resources it takes to achieve commitments. And we are reluctant to ask for support. But, we need to ask in a deliberate way. How can you motivate others to work with you in achieving your commitments? By creating a community of supportive relationships.

If you include networking as part of your routine, then you will have the resources you need to achieve your commitments.

This means being intentional with your work relationships and knowing how each person connects to a common purpose. Once you have crafted your 2-minute story of commitment, make a list of whom you will share it with.

Determine your Circles of Influence

Make a list of people who need to hear your commitment. From your employees, colleagues, and stakeholders select people who can, directly or indirectly, help you reach your goals. Be sure to include names in each of the 5 circles:

If you include networking as part of your routine, then you will have the resources you need to achieve your commitments.


1- Start with People you trust.

This can be anyone who fits into the other four categories. This is someone you are comfortable with and someone whom you trust explicitly to give you objective feedback. Examples: friends, family, boss, colleagues

2- People you lead.

This is includes your direct reports and others you lead indirectly. Examples: employees, staff, volunteers, members

3- People you work/collaborate with.

These are people you don’t lead “officially” but whom you work with. Examples: peers, other departments, other organizations, vendors

4- People you need.

This group includes people who are not in groups 1-3. It may be stakeholders, people you need on your side, or people who have something that can help, and most importantly: PEOPLE WHO WILL NETWORK ON YOUR BEHALF.

5- People from the larger community.

These are people (or groups of people) who exist outside of your organization who influence or are influenced by your organization. Examples: professional organizations, board of directors, a community action group, your town, state or county

Create your Community

Begin sharing with people you are most comfortable with and continue through group 5. Start with at least 3 connections from each group. Revise your 2-minute story of commitment each time you tell it depending on your audience. Over a period of weeks or months, you will create a community of supportive relationships.

Questions to Deepen Your Thinking:

  • How is networking working for you?
  • How diverse is your network?
  • Can you think of a different way to grow your network?


Ganz, M. (2007). TELLING YOUR PUBLIC STORY: Self, Us, Now. Cambridge: Kennedy School of Government.
Ibarra, H. & Hunter M. (2007, January). How leaders create and use networks. Harvard Business Review.
Uzzi, B. & Dunlap, S. (2005, December). How to build your network. Harvard Business Review.

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