Sunday, September 28, 2008

A new career opportunity for executive women

CNO – Chief Networking Officer

A new career opportunity for executive women

Scenario: we live in the era of communication. The Internet has come to stay as well as all forms of technology that will integrate around it: cellular, broadband, digital TV, web 2.0 etc. .. New economic models are emerging and there is a rapid change in how people interact. Little by little companies are becoming more aware of the importance of each of the networks of people and businesses that revolve around your business. We envision that the face of the company on the Internet will evolve from a web-site to an online social network where all selected virtually partners will be located.

Business Networks Management: drawing below summarizes this simple but powerful concept.

All enterprise is surrounded by several networks and their respective actors. All necessary resources for organizations and individuals reach their goals are found in people, ie, in the very network of individuals and businesses. People, not companies, who make decisions whether or not to rely on other people who represent the interests of an organization. People who decide to work for a company, invest in it, buy its products and services and so on. However, it is imperative that before anything else, set up a new style of leadership: CNO - Chief Networking Officer, or busines networks manager. In short, this strategic role will be to manage all these partnerships, to activate the dormant networks and to transform all these contacts into economically active agents in a relationship of mutual gains. In this sense, online social networks will be a technological tool that will support this work.

CNO – Chief Networking Officer´s Profile

The ideal CNO´s profile is of a professional who is visionary and passionate for innovation. Person with excellent ability in interpersonal relationships and negotiation. This person must be very focused and organized. One must have developed skills of leadership-coach, supporting people´s development of both the internal and external networks. This leadership is elected and conquered but never imposed. One´s professional background is less important than one´s ability to lead teams and to achieve the best result while stimulating the emergence of new leaders among peers. The approach always seeks harmony rather than dominance. Gains should be fairly and proportionately shared among all participants in the system.

Career opportunity for the executive woman

For the description above, I believe that women executive has a number of natural characteristics to embrace the challenge of implementing business networks management in an organization. The great advantage by now is that the corporate world still does not understand well business networks management concept and the powerful, agile and inexpensive use of online social networks. Therefore, there is no competition for this position. Hence, what is all there is a wide avenue to be paved.

We believe that these truly visionary and passionate for innovation female executives may find that combining characteristics innate to women with their competence and professional experience, they may implement a business networks management project quickly in their organization and thereby accelerate their own executive career.

I leave here a challenge-call to "ladies with shining eyes " who know how to identify a winning horse with just a look and great constructive intuition.

Octavio Pitaluga Neto
Chief Networking Officer
TEN – Top Executives Net

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Become CNO of your own personal network

Many professionals are extremely good and technically competent. However, at the very same time, they do not pay too much attention to their business contacts. Until the day, they really need to find that specific person they met at some point in time. If this person is luck enough to reach that professional, normally, he/she will tend to ask for something without offering too much in return. This normal and we see this kind of situation happening every day. Overtime, it also becomes a so called "habit" if which it is spread amid population, it becomes the so called "culture". Well, IMHO, this is not culture at all but lack of it.

This happens because people have not yet been trained since they are very young to become CNO - Chief Networking Officer of their own personal networks. They are not aware of the paramount importance of carrying such great and valuable attitude pattern for life.

Let´s see 7 great reasons to do so at very early age (the younger the better):
  1. Define your strategic and long term goals in life;
  2. Map out all resources needed to reach such targets having a clear understanding that all resources (knowledge, relationship capital, investments, experience, success stories, etc...) come from people (employers, co-workers, investors, employees, etc...) and happen with people who trusts you;
  3. On one hand, value and communicate regularly with all good and reliable contacts from time to time. These people might be of special help occasionally. So, it´s important to have them near you. On other hand, avoid investing time in relatioships with people who are not alligned in the same values and cultural code ;
  4. Define your golden and lifetime team, i.e., people who will complete you and make the difference speeding up your career and business tremendously;
  5. Learn how to use main online social networks in order to manage your network efficiently;
  6. Always be concerned about adding value to your network members i/o just looking for what is in there for you;
  7. Create a win-win environment with a natural communication flow in which wealth can be easily built and proportionally distributed among network members.

Your personal and business networks are the major asset that anyone can build and carry for lifetime. Anyone can do it. Anytime. Anywhere. It´s the most democratic and powerful tool. Regardless of your age, work and life experience, knowledge, race, religion, geographic location, cultural and social level. It´s yours and nobody can take it away from you unless you are not careful enough, of course.

The sooner you understand the value of business networks management and become the CNO - Chief Networking Officer of your own network, the sooner you will make your dreams come true and be surrounded by your dearest friends all way long.

May God bless your path to a brighter future. Amen!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtual >> Real is easier than Real >> Virtual

In all these almost 5-year experience with Online Social Networks, I have realized that it´s much easier to come accross with somebody online and invite this person to meet in person than the other way around.

And I have a big deal of person and face to face exposure as well participating in social and business events, exchanging business cards, explaining and lecturing about this matter, inviting people to join and connect to me in major online platforms.

Interesting enough, a made a research a couple of years ago, asking what would make people to connect in an online social networks environment. The result below is self explanatory:

Conclusion: Conversely to what this research is trying to imply, it has nothing to do with the fact that a person may know you in person, be your long term friend or even attended a professional lecture. It´s just a matter of experience and habit with online social networks. If one understands the value of them, have a positive experience in this environment and adopted a new habit, this person will most likely accept a friendly and professional invitation.

Concerning one´s experience, there are two ways: (a) invest precious time in trial and error or (b) attend a concise, direct and objective training session.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga Neto
TEN - Top Executives Net
CNO - Chief Networking Officer

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interim Chief Networking Officer

In order to assess if your company needs an Interim CNO - Chief Networking Officer, just answer some questions:

Quick Assessment
• Are all your contacts organized per region and business units?
• Do you know your connections per each network?
• Do you have your ideal network at hands?
• Do you have direct access to people who may leverage you?
• Do you talk to these people enough?
• Do you approach them correctly both offline and online?
• Do you have a Business Networks Management team?

If you do not have clear asnwers for these questions, perhaps it is about time to consider hiring an Interim CNO.

• Prepare a new CNO - Chief Networking Officer
• Choose BNM team members
• Train CNO + Team about BNM approach
• Define value proposition x goals
• Analyse main networks
• Organize existing contacts
• STP : Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning
• Define communication approach
• Use online social networks
• Expand your network virtually
• Structure new databasis
• Existing network => Ideal network
• Action plan (real & virtual worlds)
• Implement and monitor the project

As a result, your company will enjoy the following:

• Define CNO and Business Networks Management team
• Manage your networks effectively (in both real and online worlds)
• Define a strategic plan to grow your business (local & international)
• Create a win-win approach
• Communicate your unique value proposition (externally & internally)
• Create first sucess stories

Monday, September 15, 2008

A new networking revolution?

From LinkedIn to Chief Networking Officer…

More and more professionals discover the importance of virtual networking, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Xing. However, the possibilities are still seriously underestimated by many enterprises. But the contours of the person solving this, are appearing: the "Chief Networking Officer."

Octavio Pitaluga says being "passionately, even drunk of enthousiasm" about the concept of virtual networks." The Brazilian is founder of TopExecutivesNet (TEN), an online business community. He is amongst the top 15 of most often connected persons in LinkedIn and organizes seminars/workshops concerning Business Network Management (BNM). Meanwhile, he is a specialist in the field of 'social networking' and 'social media'. He recently gave a lecture in Zellik on virtual social networks and the emergence of the Chief Networking Officer (CNO).

The new company

The strong turnout of 'virtual networks' fits in the fundamental change in the way things are being done, Octavio Pitaluga believes. He explains: "Information and communication technologies are getting cheaper. Hence, companies can offer their goods and services within a minimum of time and with a minor investment in all corners of the world. Saying this otherwise: a global, very competitive situation arises… Companies doing well in this context, are fast, flexible, globally oriented and are able to well handle new media, such as the Internet. They no longer work within a pyramid-kind of hierarchy, where a CEO is the head of an army of subordinates. Instead, they organize themselves as a matrix, wherein the CNO creates around him/her a community of entities affecting business activities. Examples of such entities are: customers, employees, suppliers, managers, media, government, associations, academic personnel, investors and local residents. An enterprise with such a community-enhancing way of operating and managing will attract and retain talent in an easier way, because there is a lot of attention for satisfying interpersonal relationships. Thanks to an efficient communication along the threads of this network, knowledge itself will float from person to person. Shortly: it is getting increasingly important to work on a good Business Network Management in order to boost business and to be able to cope with the global, competitive environment we live in."

Looking for a win-win relationship

In order to manage their social capital in an efficient way, companies wanting to survive in this globalized world, are forced to take into consideration the – brand new - 'Chief Networking Officer (CNO)' system. The person establishing contact with the companies connections has, of course, to be chosen carefully. He/she will use various forms of virtual social media: LinkedIn, Yahoo! Groups, Skype, Slideshare, Youtube, etc. He/she makes sure that those connections will help the company achieve its projects, with the ultimate goal of getting more able to survive than other companies. Octavio Pitaluga: "The CNO should focus on commitments between people with long-term returns. And this should not just be a commitment which serves their own goals, but also those of the contact. For some companies, this means another way of thinking has to be considered. Particularly, the mentality 'I have to win, they should lose' has to be abandoned. This is particularly a challenge for large firms dealing with small companies. The CNO is a new kind of leader. He/she doesn’t impose leadership, but deserves it. He/she is the leader of the future. "Octavio Pitaluga also explains which people are most fit to fulfill this role in a company: "They need to be strategic thinkers and have an unalterable credibility. They ought to be creative, to be able to meet the different interests and expectations of the network’s members, and make them match.” Furthermore, they need very good communication and negotiating skills, they need to be able to propose people to each other and link them, and they can listen to opinions and questions. "

BNM in the real world

Once the appropriate person is found, the business networking starts. "The first goal of CNO is to build a core group of employees," continues Octavio Pitaluga. "I recommend to build this Business Network Management Team out of the chiefs of each department. Thus, the commercial responsible will have a key role in the development of the company’s client network, the buying responsible in the one of the suppliers, etc. In fact, everyone in the company has - upto a larger or lesser extent – a role, a responsibility to play in the development and success of the network. They must be trained and should understand that the successful implementation of such a network will also advance their own careers. As a consequence, the targets for the different connections will have to be defined, and the time frame in which this has to occur. In case this is done in a really thorough and detailed way, the negotiations with the members of the network will be going on efficiently and quickly. Also, implement a scoring system that allows you to review your contacts on a regular basis. Consider questions such as: what are the experiences so far with those people, what is their potential for the future? Finally, set up a continuous action plan for each network and all stakeholders in the short, medium and long term. You can start with those who influence the ins and outs of your company the most: the employees. The CNO should also, from time to time, make the virtual contacts real-life contacts. This can be done by organizing a seminar, party, reception,. Actually, there should be a calendar of activities over the whole year." Finally, Octavio Pitaluga points out that, in the beginning, companies should not necessarily have a permanent CNO service: "It could be a person working temporarily, for example three weeks, in the company, expanding its network. Or someone who trains employees through seminars, courses and workshops in this matter. In any case, it is a function that will be required in the near future, because the current business model will gradually evolve into a new type, in which the CNO will play a key role."

Expand your network… Tips from Octavio Pitaluga:

• The sooner you start, the better.
• Gain volume.
Later you can approach people in a more specific way. Keep in mind that your network can grow with 1,000 people in two weeks (this is could make about 30,000 per year!).
• Preferably, make contact with someone having many connections. Why? Because it proves that the person 'knows the game."
• Contacts attract other contacts. If you make sure that you are a valuable contact (because of your expertise, many connections, etc...), your network will automatically grow.
• Ask for a contact to introduce you with one of his contacts.

• Do not be intrusive and communicate regularly with the person you´d like to add to your network.
• Do not doubt the value of a broad virtual network, it will really help your business. However, you will only fully understand the benefits if you play the game fully.
• The virtual 'social media' are divided into six groups: debate forums (MSN, Yahoo! - Google,… - groups), social communities (Youtube, Slideshare, Blogger,…), business directories (LinkedIn, ZeroDegrees,…), business communities (TEN, Xing, CIOnet,…), contact managers (Plaxo, Tacit, Visible Path,…) and communicators (Skype, Google Talk,…). Try to be present in least one of each group: your presence in one of them strengthens that in another.

Further information

Koen Vandepopuliere

Original Text

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is er een nieuwe Netwerkrevolutie?

Van LinkedIn naar Chief Networking Officer…

Steeds meer professionelen ontdekken het belang van virtuele netwerken, zoals LinkedIn, Facebook en Xing. Toch blijven de mogelijkheden ervan op bedrijfsniveau zwaar onderbenut. Echter, de contouren van de persoon die dit zal remediëren, tekenen zich af: de ‘Chief Networking Officer’.

Octavio Pitaluga noemt zichzelf “gepassioneerd, ja, zelfs dronken van enthousiasme” over het concept ‘virtuele netwerken’. De Braziliaan is oprichter van TopExecutivesNet (TEN), een online zakengemeenschap. Hij staat in de top 15 van belangrijkste contacten in LinkedIn en organiseert seminaries/workshops rond Business Network Management (BNM). Intussen is de man een specialist op het vlak van ‘social networking’ en ‘social media’. In die hoedanigheid gaf hij onlangs in Zellik een lezing over virtuele sociale netwerken en de opkomst van de Chief Networking Officer (CNO).

De nieuwe onderneming
De sterke opkomst van ‘virtuele netwerken’ kadert in de fundamentele verandering van de manier waarop zaken worden gedaan, gelooft Octavio Pitaluga. Hij legt uit: “Informatie- en communicatietechnologie worden steeds goedkoper. Gevolg is dat bedrijven hun goederen en diensten in een minimum van tijd en met een minimale investering in alle hoeken van de wereld kunnen aanbieden. Met andere woorden: er ontstaat een bikkelharde, wereldwijde concurrentie… Firma’s die het in deze context goed doen, zijn snel, flexibel, mondiaal georiënteerd en hanteren vlot nieuwe media, zoals het Internet. Ze werken alsmaar minder vaak met een piramidestructuur waarbij een topman het gezag over een leger ondergeschikten voert. In de plaats daarvan organiseren ze zich als een matrix, waarbij de bedrijfsleider rond zichzelf een gemeenschap creëert van actoren die het bedrijfsgebeuren beïnvloeden. Denk maar aan klanten, eigen werknemers, leveranciers, bestuurders, media, overheid, verenigingen, de academische wereld, investeerders en buurtbewoners. Een onderneming met een dergelijke, gemeenschapsbevorderende cultuur zal gemakkelijker talent aantrekken en behouden, omdat er veel aandacht is voor het uitbouwen van bevredigende relaties tussen personeelsleden. Dankzij een efficiëntere communicatie langs de draden van dit mensenweb zal kennis zich vlotter van persoon naar persoon verplaatsen. Om kort te gaan: het wordt steeds belangrijker een goed Business Network Management te voeren om de concurrentie het hoofd te kunnen bieden.”

Op zoek naar een win/win-relatie
Om hun sociaal kapitaal efficiënt te beheren, zullen bedrijven die in deze geglobaliseerde wereld willen meespelen, genoodzaakt zijn om de gloednieuwe functie ‘Chief Networking Officer (CNO)’ te introduceren. Deze persoon legt contacten met actoren die hij zorgvuldig heeft gekozen. Daarbij maakt hij gebruik van de diverse vormen van virtuele sociale media: LinkedIn, Yahoo!groups, Skype, Slideshare, Youtube, etc. Hij zorgt ervoor dat deze connecties de firma helpen om haar projecten te verwezenlijken, met als uiteindelijk doel een steviger concurrentiepositie ten opzichte van andere bedrijven te behalen. Octavio Pitaluga benadrukt: “De CNO moet zich focussen op verbintenissen tussen mensen die ook op lange termijn renderen. En deze moeten niet enkel iets voor de eigen zaak opleveren, maar ook voor de contactpersoon. Voor een aantal ondernemingen komt het erop neer een andere bedrijfscultuur na te streven: er moet absoluut van de mentaliteit ‘ik moet winnen, zij moeten verliezen’ worden afgestapt. Dit is vooral een uitdaging voor grote firma’s die met kleintjes onderhandelen. De CNO is een nieuw soort leider. Hij legt geen leiderschap op, maar verdient het. Hij is dan ook de leider van de toekomst.” Octavio Pitaluga legt eveneens uit welke personen geschikt zijn om deze rol in een bedrijf te vervullen: “Ze moeten strategisch denken en een onwrikbare geloofwaardigheid genieten. Ze moeten creatief zijn om maximaal de verschillende belangen en verwachtingen van de netwerkleden op elkaar te laten aansluiten. Voorts dienen ze erg communicatief en onderhandelingsvaardig te zijn, moeten ze mensen aan elkaar kunnen voorstellen en koppelen, dienen ze goed kunnen te luisteren en meningen te vragen.”

BNM in praktijk
Eénmaal de geschikte persoon is gevonden, kan de zakelijke netwerkvorming starten. “De CNO dient in eerste instantie een kerngroep van medewerkers op te bouwen,” gaat Octavio Pitaluga verder. “Ik raad aan dit Business Network Management-team uit de chefs van elke afdeling samen te stellen. Zo zal de commercieel verantwoordelijke een sleutelrol bij de uitbouw van het klantennetwerk van de firma spelen, de aankoopverantwoordelijke bij deze van de leveranciers, etc. In feite zal iedereen in de onderneming in min of meerdere mate een rol spelen bij het uitbouwen en slagen van het netwerk. Zij moeten worden getraind en dienen te begrijpen dat de succesvolle implementatie van zo’n netwerk hun carrières vooruit helpt. Vervolgens dienen de doelen te worden gedefinieerd die met de verschillende actoren moeten worden bereikt, en de tijdsspanne waarin dit dient te gebeuren. Wanneer dat grondig gebeurt, zullen de onderhandelingen met de leden van het netwerk efficiënt en snel verlopen. Hanteer ook een scoresysteem waarmee u uw contacten op regelmatige basis evalueert. Stel daarbij vragen, zoals: wat zijn de ervaringen tot nu toe met die personen, wat is hun potentieel voor de toekomst? Werk tenslotte een continu actieplan uit voor elk netwerk en alle betrokkenen op korte, middellange en lange termijn. Het beste kunt u daarvoor starten met de actoren die de meeste invloed op het reilen en zeilen van uw zaak uitoefenen: de werknemers. De CNO moet van tijd tot tijd eveneens de virtuele contacten reëel maken. Dat kan door ze op een seminarie, feest, receptie, …, uit te nodigen. Eigenlijk moet er een kalender onstaan van activiteiten over het hele jaar.” Tot slot wijst Octavio Pitaluga erop dat bedrijven niet noodzakelijk een CNO in vaste dienst dienen te hebben: “Het kan gaan om een persoon die tijdelijk, bijvoorbeeld drie weken, in het bedrijf een netwerk uitbouwt. Of iemand die de werknemers via seminaries, cursussen en workshops in de materie opleidt. In elk geval is het een functie die in de nabije toekomst furore zal maken. Want het huidige bedrijfsmodel zal geleidelijk evolueren naar een nieuw type, waarin de CNO de sleutelfiguur zal zijn.”

Breid uw netwerk uit… Tips van Octavio Pitaluga:
• Hoe sneller u begint, hoe beter.
• Ga voor volume. Later kunt u meer specifiek mensen benaderen. Houd voor ogen dat u uw netwerk per week à veertien dagen met 1.000 personen kunt uitbreiden (dat zijn er 30.000 per jaar!).
• Maak bij voorkeur contact met iemand die veel connecties heeft, want precies daardoor bewijst deze persoon dat hij/zij ‘de regels van het spel kent’.
• Contacten trekken contacten aan. Als u er zelf voor zorgt dat u een waardevol contact bent (door uw expertise, groot aantal connecties, …) zal uw netwerk automatisch groeien.
• Vraag aan een contact om u bij één van zijn contacten te introduceren.
• Wees niet opdringerig en communiceer regelmatig met de persoon die u in uw netwerk wil opnemen.
• Twijfel niet aan de waarde van een ruim virtueel netwerk, het helpt uw zaken echt vooruit. Maar u zult de voordelen pas ervaren indien u het spel ten volle meespeelt.

• De virtuele ‘social media’ zijn in zes groepen in te delen: discussiegroepen (MSN-, Yahoo!-, Google-, …-groups), delen van media (Youtube, Slideshare, Blogger, …), netwerken op basis van informatie (LinkedIn, ZeroDegrees,…), andere netwerken (TEN, Xing, CIOnet, …), contactbeheer (Plaxo, Tacit, Visible Path, …) en communicatie (Skype, Google Talk, …). Probeer in minstens één van elke groep present te zijn: uw aanwezigheid in het ene medium versterkt deze in de andere.

Meer info

Foto: Octavio Pitaluga

Koen Vandepopuliere

Original Text

Google Language Tools - Babel Fish

Sunday, September 07, 2008

7 Reasons to implement BNM in your company

There is a number of good reasons to implement BNM - Business Networks Management in your company. Consider these 7 solid and basic arguments:

  1. Define a new leadership style, CNO - Chief Networking Officer
  2. Improve communication and commitment among BNM team members
  3. Map out all knowledge, resources, projects, connections and success/failure stories
  4. Organize a controlled business environment around company´s brand
  5. Increase quality of partnerships and confidence between company and stakeholders
  6. Create a "lock-in effect" among all network members
  7. Prevent competition to get closer to your strategic business partners
As a result, company will continuosly experience more businesses in terms of speed, volume and frequency among so many other benefits. The sooner a company starts implementing Business Networks Management methodology, the better.

Still doubtfull? Just imagine that your competitor moved first and that all what is mentioned above may turn against your company. Will you able to cope with the outcome of this decision in the long term?

Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Best regards,

Octavio Pitaluga Neto
CNO - Chief Networking Officer