5 First Year Networking Lessons

5 First Year Networking Lessons


Ellen Livingood shares five lessons she learned / relearned as a founding member and leader of a regional diaspora outreach network that seeks to stimulate prayer and engage regional churches. In this article, she reflects on the networking challenges — common to many networks — that they encountered their first year of operation. Ellen is the Director of Catalyst Services, a member of the Synergy Commons, and a long-time network leader.

This article is helpful to new networks and network leaders who are looking to strengthen their network. Consider sharing this article with your team and discussing whether these issues are present in your network.

Key Points

  1. Clarify your purpose:
  2. Balance Individual and Network Interests:
  3. Match Network Commitments with Leader’ Availability
  4. Challenge Observers to Become Participants:
  5. Balance Networking and Partnership Work:


  • “What seemed like a clear purpose statement to some of us turned out to not be so clear to others.”
  • “We recognize it is important to create a context where people will not feel they are just targets for recruitment.”
  • “We have come to realize that we need to figure out how to better utilize other participants in our network and at times downsize our expectations.”
  • “We quickly discovered that lots of people wanted to join our network as long as someone else was doing all the work. This is human nature and to be expected.”
  • “We realized that siphoning off too much energy into partnership projects could drain the needed resources from the network.”



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Ellen Livingood – Published July 26, 2016   |   Archived Link

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