Untapped capacity can hide in plain sight. In this case, it’s in the form of our informal networks. The dozens – sometimes hundreds – of people that are floating around in your world that you know but aren’t connected to the organization in any structured or concrete way.
These are people you’ve met at conferences, friends of board members with whom you’re loosely acquainted, people you sit on working groups with…
This loose network is brimming with untapped capacity. The key is the concept of a leveraged network. A leveraged network is a constellation of structured relationships with micro-groups of people within your broader network that can be leveraged to expand organizational capacity, influence, and impact.
When we think about our organizational capacity and the people in our networks that fuel our work, we tend to think about our staff and our board. These are the people “under the tent” so to speak.
The concept of leveraged networks invites us to go to the next level, to look at everyone in our ecosystem and ask: is there a way to bring this person under the tent? Do structure their relationship in a way that deepens their connection to our work, and increases our ability to ask them for help?