Re: Alumni networks... Knowledge retention strategy or Social club? #knowledge-retention

Arthur Shelley

Andrew, Matt and Stan,


Completely agree with the power of networking and maintenance of relationships after you leave an organisation.

The real beauty is you get to choose which ones you continue to interact with (although sometimes it is easier to confirm some invitations on social media sites than to block people), as this too has consequences.


I have an exercise I sometimes run with students or workshop groups for which the theme is “you are as powerful as your network”.  

This can be a simple set of questions or something more, such as asking them to get something non-commercial delivered to the classroom through only their networks and without voice.  Can be done “for real” or simulated. Mapping the paths through which this happens is interesting.  When we did a social network analysis of the chocolate experts at Cadbury, we started with a group of 10 which quickly developed into a group of 40 and then when this group was surveyed about the sources of technology advice exploded into a list of 248, 58 of which were outside the organisation (including some past employees and some suppliers).

Have a good weekend all!

Arthur Shelley
Founder: Intelligent Answers & Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network
The Organizational Zoo & Being a Successful Knowledge Leader
Blog: http// 
Ph +61 413 047 408  Skype: Arthur.Shelley 
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From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Andrew Gent
Sent: Friday, 15 October 2010 11:18 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Re: Alumni networks... Knowledge retention strategy or Social club?



I just want to add my agreement to what Matt and Stan said. Matt's original observation "I have a lot of loyalty to my former colleagues..." and Stan's specific example (since I worked with both Stan and Birgit and would readily help either one at the drop of a hat).

I'd also like to point out an interesting twist to this phenomena. Which is that the KM capacity of any individual employee often multiplies exponentially with the friendships they have made at previous employments. I now work in a very small company -- currently about 14 people. Many who are in their twenties and thirties; some, like myself, older. At least once a week someone asks "does anyone know..." More often than not, the question is answered within 30 minutes by one or more people connecting with former colleagues or people they have met at conferences.

Our company is small. But when it comes to getting information, it seems like we have hundreds of people at our fingertips, all due to benefiting from the opposite end of the sort of "loyalty" Matt refers to.

--Andrew Gent



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