My friend and colleague, June Holley, has written a much anticipated book, The Network Weaver Handbook. If you are interested in building networks or working as Networked Nonprofit, you need this book right now!
The Network Weaver Handbook is designed to give you skills and resources you need to build effective and innovative networks. The handbook offers advice and resources for those who just starting out to those involved in well-established networks. The book gives you the basics of networks and network building and moves on to more advanced topics such as scaling networks and transformation.
A network weaver is someone who is aware of the networks around them and explicitly works to make them healthier. They do this by helping people identify their interests and challenges, connecting people strategically where there’s potential for mutual benefit, and serving as a catalyst for self-organizing groups. As June points, the role is multi-faceted -and has four different roles – Connectors/Catalyst, Guardian, Coordinator, and Facilitator. In the books, she describes each role and the specific skills required. She also includes her famous “Network Weaver Checklist” that helps you figure out how to inspire people in your network to become network weavers while improving your own practice.
In many sections of the book, June offers fantastic stories and resources on how to use social media to support and build out your network. As she points out, increasingly the Internet has become the platform of networks – and of interaction and self-organizing. I love how she points out that one of the most important behaviors needs for a successful network approach is “learning how to learn.” And that as networks evolve and grow, you experiment with different tools and then spread the knowledge of how to use the tools to the rest of the network.
What I like best about the book is that the narrative is accompanying by terrific reflection questions and worksheets so you can easily adapt all the wisdom shared in the book. It is also packed with resource lists and stories. To me, this creates the perfect book to help guide your practice of building and working within a network.
At this year’s NTC, there was a lot of discussion about innovation and nonprofits – so I was particularly interested in Chapter 10 which is about Innovation and Transformation in Networks. It covers concepts essential to understanding how innovation happens and explores some simple practices to introduce to your network that may lead to innovation. June offers some frameworks for creating a network culture that supports innovation, how to identify innovation assets, how to tune-up the network for innovation, how to train and coach people in the skills and processes required for innovation, and structures that support innovation.
If you are need to understand how networks work and grow – and need to develop and hone network weaving skills – this amazing handbook will give you what you need! Order it here.