All right, networks are a fairly abstract concept. We looked at different aspects of networks, such as relationship quality, things like relationship strength or reciprocity, and also overall structures of networks, such as brokerage and closure. Research has also shown, and we've already talked about this, that networks can have a strong impact on information and knowledge sharing, on job mobility, and on power. But all this is fairly abstract theorizing, right? It's the view from the balcony on networks, if you will. So when I talked to Bocconi alumni, what I was interested in really getting to know better is how networking happens kind of on the front line, right? The warts and all picture of the practice of networking. And this is what they taught me. They shared with me how they approach networking. How they build strong professional relations in an international context. And also some of the challenges that they had to overcome, as foreigners, as ex-pats, when they try to build social networks in their organizations. >> I need to meet people. Because maybe we talk about the news in the paper, or a new idea, or something. I almost function through relationships. It's how I learn, how I do things. But there are other people that are working differently and they let me get more data, they can be less with people. But then again I think that what goes around, also a lot, being with people, it gives us energy. So I think that's one reason why it's important, and if you are- >> Well I suppose and that was a good school. Networking in GE was always encouraged and associated to something very positive, which actually I found isn't necessarily the case across cultures, and that's because I guess what GE was saying is that the more people you know professionally, the more you can learn, the more you can grow, the more you can get advice. >> Mm-hm. >> The more you can get noticed, by the way, and people will think of you for the next job or the next promotion. And so GE was very positive in saying, this is a way for you to learn. And this is one of the ways that you're gonna learn the most in your job. >> First of all, we need a place to be. Of course, you can network on the Internet, and we do that. And there are many opportunities now through LinkedIn or over social media. And once in a while, we meet up physically, or in more exclusive network sessions, you know? And I think, so besides having a good place, I think wherever you go there are some quite clear skills you need. And that is, maybe it's not only skills, it's total attitude. >> Mm-hm. >> And we always say, and I share this with everyone who comes to any of our events and whatever we do, is that you have to be an open person. If you are relatively open, you meet more interesting people. If you are closed and only interested in one type of group and you're very pre-focused on who you're gonna meet, you will meet a lot less. So, and sometimes you don't know where the opportunities come from. So I would say be very open wherever you are, to share, and then be ready to share. Connect to people. And connect at all levels. I think in the early days we were very careful sharing things that didn't have anything to do with pure business. But, I'm telling people to share something about yourself, because networking or connection and relationship building is really about human beings. And sometimes you end up doing things with people because of a common passion you may have. So we always say share, something that's been warms your heart, or makes you excited, and I think that's something that's important. And share something you are enthusiastic about because that carries a different energy. >> I found that in other companies sometimes I tell people, I coach people and I say you know you really need to expand your network. And people would take that and think that what they need to do now is to go and have coffees with as many senior leaders as possible over the next month. So that they can be visible, and then things are going to magically happen to them. Well, that doesn't work and of course it doesn't work. So I'd say there is a huge value in knowing a variety of people. And by the way, help doesn't just come from senior leaders. Help comes from people who've been in the company a long time. Help comes from really young people. I mean, today, you don't see her in the video, but I have an apprentice who's spending the day with me. And actually sometimes you hear new ideas from somebody who is very young, because it's a different way of working. It's a different way to look at life, etc. And so I'd say it there is always benefit in knowing people, and just knowing people across the board. >> Of course in certain culture it's very different. You have to work way slower, and it takes longer time too. In Japan I I have had lots of dinners and things like that. My first time to Japan I was working with a Norwegian organization and I ended up going out with the guys, drinking whiskey. And it was extremely uncomfortable, and I didn't share very much at all. I was basically very quiet. But these days, when I have a network of women. And I have met people that I have more in common with now that are also travel a bit and more international. That's immediately much more comfortable and I can immediately be more open with them. And of course you have to show respect and listen more, spend more time really listening. And then so rule number one of being open is always valid, being open to listen to those new ways and ask even what's somehow is expected too. >> Is about, we're talking about seven or eight years ago. So we're not talking about that long. And so, this is me having lived in six or seven or eight different countries. I actually had a role that probably was one of the most challenging I had. Because here is me, always being in very global environments, kind of global or European headquarters, and here is me going to Canada, for a role that was actually a very local role. I was the head of HR for Canada for Novartis at the time. And so unsurprisingly the vast majority of the 900 people organization at the time were Canadians now. Canadians are very good and are very open about foreigners. It's one of the most, I think, open cultures, and really, really welcoming. They kind of need immigration, so they're kind of happy with different cultures coming in and bringing different skills. But I think that was probably the first time in my life that I was the one person who was coming from the outside. You look at my background, and you know that I'm likely not going to be there forever. So I was coming for a short period of time, be two, three, four years, that I was going to go at some point. And so people then have a choice, right? People at work have a choice to say, you know, you're just coming and going and I'm gonna be here, I've been here for ten years and I'm gonna be here for another ten after you go and so I'll cope with you. Or they have a choice to actually open themselves and think that, yep they have something to give you, but also you have something to offer in terms of a different perspective of the world. And I guess that was kind of an eye opening experience because of course I went possibly not, I thought I'd done all the cultural, kind of, cross cultural sensitivity research. I'd done everything I thought that I needed to do to kick the boxers and understand what you need to do to be effective in Canada. What I hadn't done is done any thinking on how do you actually tackle a group of people who've worked together for a long time and have a way of working and way of talking. And actually a whole lot of good practices, and how do you come in and actually say, well, I know better. Which is a little bit, not what I did obviously, but it's a little bit of probably my attitude, at least the way it was perceived that becomes reality. And after two or three months, I kind of lost my team, because they felt trampled, they felt that me coming from headquarter with all of this knowledge, was actually disregarding everything that they had done, that I didn't understand how they operate etc. What saved us there is very open and transparent feedback. I guess very good culture, Canada, the team kind of brought it up. They talked about how I made them feel. They talked about how they felt I was not respecting their experience and I was just not even giving them the time to understand. And I think we kind of found a way for me to listen. And we'll talk about listening a lot. I think there is a whole lot about cultural barriers and any diversity barriers, which is about listening to the context of where an individual come from. And asking enough good questions. So, we found a way for me to understand where they were coming from. But, also equally, for the team to open up to, well here is what she can bring. And yes, she might be going in a few years but let's build on something that's gonna make it more constructive. >> I think in certain cultures, like here in Europe these days, and especially where I come from in Norway, in the north, I think it's quite easy because women and men are quite comfortable socially to talk and stuff. But in certain more conservative cultures, you see that there's more of a division. So, it's easier to network with other women or other men. So, I don't know really. >> They should go against those conventions. So, if you are in a situation where it's much more common that women network with other women, and men with other men. If you try to breach that rule, if you still want to reach out, because it makes sense professionally, to somebody from the opposite sex. What would your advice be how to do that? >> Yes, I think we'll go back to this facilitated networking again. So we create an occassion, so like a conference or a meeting during the day. What becomes complex is more the evening stuff. So whiskey with the guys in Japan, soccer with the guys in England, you know it's all over the place. So if you can trade [LAUGH] networking grounds during the day or set aside times where everyone is sharing, these type of things work. But still of course things are happening in the corridors or over beer, and over whiskey, or playing golf, or maybe now with more women, it's gonna happen at the nail place. So I don't know but [LAUGH] but I think back to, if there are sessions where, yeah exactly, where you can make it transparent, and things don't need to happen in the evening, or on the weekend. But, okay, some things will happen, but. I think it is linked to if you receive a lot from someone, and you forget to thank, if you forget to remember that another time, it's kind of bad taste. So if you are someone who just takes, and it doesn't last very long. People figure it out. If you are an open person who likes to work in trust, is also figure out as fast as you possibly can whether these are trustworthy people. That's not always that easy, but. Because ideally, at least in the way we work here is to try to create context, where there is trust, because in such worlds, in such gardens, let's say things go faster and it's much easier. But once you to have this trust in here and nasty competition then you can't get that so it's quite a difficult task that you have to do. So in order to, if you have a good network with good people, you have to protect it in that way too, without being exclusive. So and that's the thing, and especially I think it's about this boundary setting, you know? So yes, I'm very open, and you set boundaries. And the boundaries is not because someone is different. But it's more if you feel there is someone's just gonna take, take, take from you, or going to run and see your information, that's where you have to set the bar. >> Why is that particularly for women? You said, especially for women that it's essential? >> Maybe it happens equally much as men, it's just that I have more experience working with women. So, it's true. It can happen to everyone. That's a good point, yeah [LAUGH]. >> Maybe men are naturally more protective. >> Yeah, could be. Yeah. >> I'd also say that networks need to be fostered. You cannot just go and have coffee, and then you're not gonna talk to that person ever. And then you're looking for a job and you say, yeah we had coffee 18 months ago. And now I'm here and I need a job. It's a little bit like, I love it, headhunters. I talk to a lot of people who say, yeah headhunters call me, but I'm really happy with my job, I just don't talk to them because why would I? And then, of course, you come to the point where you want to leave the company. You want to look for a job. And so then it's like, who are the list of headhunters that I need to talk to now. Well it doesn't work that way. Headhunters, if they place a call you return the call because it's only polite. Sometimes they just wanna pick your brain and see if you know people. If you're very happy at a job just tell them you're very happy, but take the opportunity to talk about how you are doing, what your skills are, what you wanna learn, because you just never know. When that headhunter might have the dream job for you. And if you've always ignored their phone calls, they're just not gonna call you back. And that's just an example which is very opportunistic but inside a company really, really important to know a whole lot of- >> What the experience of our alumni show us is that networking, creating, and developing professional relationships in an international context can be a bit more challenging because there are barriers to overcome. Many studies show us eventually that shared race and ethnicity are one of the strongest, if not the strongest, reasons for connections, basis for connections, by the same token they can also be then the greatest barrier right? If you have different race or different ethnicity. So if you have this strongest basis for homophily, for creating a relationship based on commonalities. If that doesn't exist, you have to work a lot harder, right? To identify a common ground, or to create that common ground, to create that connection. Now in some cultures that have a strong collectivist orientation, getting access to this closely knit collective as an outsider, and then creating strong relationships, can also be tricky. One of the things that you always want to keep in mind is that they are different relational norms in place clearly, right, around the world depending on cultural context. And that determines what is legitimate to ask and to do in a professional relationship, right, so if you're operating in a U.S. American context, then the norm often is business is business, and private is private, so you want to keep those two completely separate. Much more common in China is that those two are actually mixed, right. So that there is an intermingling of purely instrumental business relationships and more emotional effective private relationships. So these differences are something that you want to adjust too, right? Because if you violate those norms that could alienate and could disorientate others, but that being said though, mixing private and business relationships nowadays in many cultures is also regarded critically. Right? There is a concern for nepotism, so you want to be careful as you approach that blending. The alumnus experience also shown that there are some universal principles that you can apply to networking. And I would say it's those commonalities, rather than the differences, that should be the primary guidance as you, as an international leader, establish and grow professional networks. After all, we're all human beings and as human beings we all share the same central concern for relationships. We're all social animals. We all want to be respected and appreciated by the people that we interact with and we all expect a certain amount of reciprocity in the relationships that we have. And so it's these universal principles that should be a guidance for international leaders. Networking that's purely transactional, that's purely focused on short term gain, is increasing the negatively regarded. And in an age of social media where it's as easy and as cheap as never before to establish superficial relationships, some would argue that meaningful relationships are prized a lot more highly. And it's those meaningful relationships that make people comfortable to have an open dialog, that make them be willing to accept and to give advice, and to share risky ideas. It's those meaningful relationships that ultimately contribute value to an organization, and that allow leaders to be effective in the long run.