written by
Melanie Evans

HBR: Why Your Inner Circle Should Stay Small, and How to Shrink It

Editorial 2 min read

Check it out. Go back over the last 50 years of Harvard Business Review. About every 3 or 4 months, they write an article about networking. Their classic line came from the Jan 2007 article HOW LEADERS CREATE AND USE NETWORKS, when they wrote, "Networking (is) the unpleasant task of trading favors with strangers ... we’ve found that networking — creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information — is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address".

GREAT article follows. Note that, as an apparel industry professional, the minute you walk into AAPN event, you inherit a network we've built with thousands of people one at a time over nearly 40 years. Why does that matter? Read these:

“Your true core network will rarely number more than a dozen people.” -- Tom Peters

“….the computer revolution missed a step. When companies went from enterprise computing to individual computing, they jumped over the small-group level, where the preponderance of the work takes place”.  -- HBR, May 2004: CAN ABSENCE MAKE A THE TEAM GROW STRONGER?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". - Margaret Mead

Why Your Inner Circle Should Stay Small, and How to Shrink It
HBR: March 07, 2018

When it comes to networks, the bigger the better, right? Not necessarily. Carefully curate your most trusted, inner circle and you’ll be surprised at how much more valuable you’ll become to the larger community of people in the world who care about the same things you do.

We live in a time when “bigger is better” is the prevailing assumption when it comes to, well, just about anything. So it’s only natural for us to want to supersize our network of connections — both online and off — because the more people we know, the greater our chances of being exposed to opportunities that may lead to professional advancement, potential mentors, material success, and so on.

But in fact, being what we call a “superconnector” has nothing to do with supersizing your network. Rather, it’s about surrounding yourself with a carefully curated group of people who you admire and respect and with whom you share common beliefs and values — people who will set the tone for the foundation of your larger network filled with people who provide value to one another. And that core group should be a lot smaller than you think. Read More