What is the Team Network Map?
Can you believe the first social network map like this one was created some 90 years ago? It was hand drawn to document a girls’ friendship network in a New York school. Today we have more automated methods. The network map at the Team level can be a powerful tool for visualising the connectedness within the Team. This pattern will vary depending on the type of Team e.g. Self-Directed, Single Leader, Forum or Community.
The links are formed from interactions e.g. a post liked, a person mentioned etc. The links are directional i.e. if you replied to a post I made, then there would be an arrow pointing to me from you. If I were to reply or like a post you made, then the link would have arrows at both ends and the colour changes to red, indicating a ‘two-way’ connection.
The social network map provides a visual representation a team’s network of connections. You can quickly see how cohesively connected the team is, who is central to the team and who might be fringe members. A well performing self-directed team would see most members connected to each other. A single leader team might see the leader in the middle of a ‘star’ network configuration. The strength slider provides the opportunity to filter the links based on frequency. By moving the slider to the right, the real ‘inner core’ will be exposed. As well as filtering by frequency, one can also reduce the period of analysis to a week or month, to can further insights into team patterns.
How to use the Team Network Map?
It has been claimed the social network is how work really gets done in organisations; and hierarchies are there for apportioning blame! Whether you believe this or not, you need only to reflect on teams you have been part of that have been highly productive and successful. Then there are others you would rather forget, because of the in- fighting and lack of trust that led to frustration and unproductiveness. There are many other SWOOP measures that focus on particular features of your map. For example, the Two-way connections are a count of the proportion of two way links from the map. The number of different teams your connections are from, and the density of the links on your network, are reflected in your collaboration profile.
Our aspirational team is the Self-Directed Team. Individuals should assess their position in the Team network map. Are you interacting sufficiently with all other members? If the Team network is not very cohesive, are you playing a role of connecting disparate members? i.e. playing the role of a broker?
The SWOOP software will classify your team type according to the interaction patterns (Team Personas). If the classification is different to what you believe the Team is aiming to be, then corrective action needs to be taken. For example, if you are looking to be a Self-Directed Team but are being classified as a Community, it is likely you have a large number of fringe members, that really don’t need to be formal Team members. The Team Network Map will clearly show who are core members and who are peripheral members.
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