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UC Davis Offers Advice on How to Expand Development Networks

Development Networks

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management recently revealed work on its blog by organizational behavior professor Greta Hsu about the integral role a development network plays in advancing careers in an age of “decreasing job security, organizational change and rapid technological advancement.”

The model of the singular mentor is disappearing in favor of development networks that primarily feature “a group of individuals who provide professional support and guidance.” Hsu believes multiple mentors offer greater career advancement, greater job satisfaction and more clarity around [one’s] professional identity.”

She continues:

“To be effective, your network must also be diverse, including a balance of contacts inside and outside your organization, hierarchical level and demographic group. This may sound excessive, but it is not. How many times have we heard someone state an opinion as if it is fact? How many times have you seen people derail their career because they are unable to see issues in fresh and more neutral ways? A diverse network enables you to address these challenges.”

By engaging diverse development networks, professionals are able to examine career issues from a number of vantage points. Diverse networks function as “ports of entry” to “social and organizational groups you don’t have direct access to,” as well as “access to more information [and] individuals with diverse skills sets,” according to Hsu.

One of UC Davis’ Executive Education program courses, Maximizing your Mentoring and Developmental Network, was designed specifically to help students grow their networks by evaluating and looking for diversity gaps in their current networks.

She advises students to “take advantage of programs, practices and communities.” Invest in relationships that have strategic value, identify and connect to relationship brokers and minimize contact with those who demand too much of you.

Hsu will be instructing two development networks sessions later this year. The first, held on June 6, will take place at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Bay Area campusThe second will be held at Gallagher Hall at the main UC Davis campus on December 1. Registrations are available now.

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