Keith Fowler

How can you harness the power of diversity?

I’ve highlighted before that the power of Network Leadership (as a supplement to traditional leadership) – comes from diversity. This in turn produces more ideas, more information, and better solutions.

But how can we harness it – in order to make our network as successful as possible?

The Network Weaver Handbook breaks it down perfectly into 4 essential aspects: Intentional, Relationship, Action and Support. Each aspect complements and supports every other aspect, empowering diversity to have a profound affect:


Firstly, and most importantly, the purpose must be clear. A successful network is a group working towards the same vision, with formal structures created to mobilise them.

Contrast this to traditional leadership where there is a clear leader figure to set direction and ensure that actions are taken towards their goal. Often it is a failure to convey an encompassing vision of the overall purpose that results in poor, or inefficient performance.

In network leadership, a clear purpose is even more important – as ultimately network members can only hold each other accountable for contributions made towards this goal.


The best networks will have positive interaction and relationships with people outside of the intentional group. Especially with those people that are as important to the network’s success.

Expanding and nurturing relationships outside of the immediate network also improves network health by letting in new ideas. Better relationships mean trust and an improved appreciation of each other, ultimately an acceptance of the differences. Enabling the power of diversity to really take hold.


In an ineffective network too often an individual or small group end up doing most of the work. Instead of working in a single unit, action needs to be self-organised by the network, with the network seeing opportunities and pulling together to make something happen.

When self-organisation is encouraged, collaboration will become more common.  Overall more is achieved.


Rather than a traditional organisation with a boss and departments, networks need supporting to ensure that communication is happening and action is being taken in line with the common goal. Communication supports engagement and participation, which is key to maintaining accountability.

In a recent webinar on Network Leadership, I asked participants to think about how these 4 essential aspects related to them. You should too – have you considered how these aspects impact your networks?

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