Have you ever wondered what your professional network looks like? Did you know you can use LinkedIn’s InMap generator to find out?
Here’s what mine looks like:
To create a your own, you can visit the Linkedin Labs InMap Generator.
Think about what you are seeing here. This is my personal org chart. This visually describes how I’m connected to everyone I know and how they are connected to each other. These are the people I can call on for help and that can call upon me. It’s the web of relationships I’ve woven through my schools, past jobs, and social activities.
This represents a huge shift in how we structure our professional world, because my org chart belongs to me, not my organizations. If everyone in my network changed jobs tomorrow, my network wouldn’t look any different. If I change jobs tomorrow, my network wouldn’t look any different. My network is based on my relationships with my connections. It’s no longer predicated on what position I have or what company I work for.
To me it’s a graphical representation of what Dan Pink was writing about when he wrote Free Agent Nation back in 2001; we’re becoming an economy increasingly comprised of one-person companies that come together to complete projects, and then disperse to find new and different combinations of people to work with. I’m sure that I will come back to work with many of the individuals in my network in a different way than when we first met. Maybe I’ll do volunteer work with a past client. Or maybe an old college friend will become a business partner.
You can use the InMap to see the vibrancy of your network. It’s not just about the number of people in your network, it’s about the nature and structure of the connections. Some of the questions you can ask about your network:
- Is there a part of your offline network that is missing online? How can you change that? (Don’t be afraid to connect with people online. LinkedIn has over 225 million members so most professionals are there)
- Are you strategically placed between groups (distinct clouds on your InMap) so you can act as a connector and bring value to different parts of the network. (If your InMap is a big ball, then everyone you know already knows everyone you know… and it’s hard to bring something new to the mix).
- And though success isn’t always dependent on the size of your network, would it help if it grew a bit? (Here’s why a robust network is valuable.)
Post your Inmap below and let us know what it’s telling you about your networking!