The best practices of network leaders are focused on developing the twelve essential elements of network health. These elements fall into three broad categories: Purpose, People, and Process. Without these essential elements, most networks will struggle or fail. Leaders who give attention to these vital elements will be able to create healthy environments for effective collaboration.
Here are links to resource topics that explore these three broad areas and twelve specific elements of network health.
Effective networks have a clear purpose. Members can see an alignment between the activities of the network and the outcomes they believe are necessary to make an impact.
The vision of the network is clear, broadly shared, and relevant to each member. The members of the network are optimistic and confident that they can achieve their vision.
The network demonstrates a commitment to prayer and a spirit of faith. Members of the network sense that their work together is spiritually empowered.
The network sets realistic and attainable objectives (both short-term and long-term objectives) in pursuit of their broader vision.
The network is focused on achieving results, measuring outcomes, and celebrating progress. Members of the network frequently reflect on what they have learned in their work together.
Effective networks depend on strong relationships of trust among a diverse group of members.
The network is made up of a diverse cross-section of people who have influence in their areas of ministry and a breadth of complementary skills.
The network is cohesive with many strong connections among the members. The network is resilient to changes in membership and does not depend on only a few people.
The members of the network communicate well with each other and with others outside the network who have a stake in what the network is doing.
The members of the network have a high level of confidence in each other and mutual concern for each other. Members of the network demonstrate qualities of trust such as honesty, integrity, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, and unselfishness toward each other.
Effective networks organize and sustain their operations so that members can be productively engaged. There is sufficient structure in the network to enable members to interact, share, and collaborate with each other.
Those who serve as leaders in the network are committed, competent, and collaborative in their approach.
The network maintains an uncomplicated structure that is able to support the goals of the network.
Members are able to mobilize the resources needed to sustain the network over time.
Members are committed to, and participate in, the network. The network effectively orients, trains, and assimilates new members to be productive contributors to the network.