As the collaborative intensity of work has exploded and the pace of change has accelerated over the past decade, personal networks have become critical to performance and well-being. More than 20 years of mapping networks and individual (and collective) performance in 300+ organizations has yielded some surprising truths regarding the network strategies of high performers. These strategies — captured in a white paper and a series of personal case studies and learning modules — can be shared and adopted by individuals and organizations interested in building and nurturing successful, high-performing, and personally fulfilling networks at work and beyond.

This IRC4HR-sponsored research is focused on understanding the behaviors of successful people — those in their organizations’ high performance category and scoring higher on measures of career satisfaction, well-being, and engagement. How do these people build, maintain, and leverage personal networks in ways that help them produce innovative solutions, execute work, and thrive in their careers?

Learning Modules

Produce Innovative SolutionsExecute Work EfficientlyThrive at Work
Tap Into a Broad Network Early in Problem SolvingScale Accomplishments Through NetworksReduce Collaborative Overload to Regain Time and Space
Create Emergent Innovation Through Open Interactions in the NetworkBuild Personal Agility Through NetworksUse Your Network to Draw You to What Matters Most
Build Purpose, Energy and Trust to Earn Interest, Effort and CreativityCultivate Influence Without Authority Through Network RolesMake Network Investments that Create a Sense of Purpose in Your Work
Adapt the Work and the Network SimultaneouslyDrive Results Through Agile Team and Unit NetworksBuffer from Work and Anchor in Non-Work Networks to Gain Perspective and Foster Well-Being

For almost twenty years, Rob’s research, teaching, and consulting have focused on applying social network analysis to critical business issues for actionable insights and bottom-line results. He has worked with more than 300 leading organizations (companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations) on a variety of solutions including innovation, organizational change and alignment, talent optimization, and leadership effectiveness.

Attached above are the white paper and related learning modules that present the findings and insights from the research funded by IRC4HR. To learn more about Rob’s research and his network of practitioners that are co-creating new applications of his methods and tools, please visit his website at or the website of the Connected Commons at

White Paper

The Invisible Network Strategies of Successful People

(23 pages)
The Invisible Network Strategies of Successful People

Innovate, Execute, Thrive: Research-Based Network Habits to Transform Your Work and Life

Rob Cross conducted three webinars that presented findings from this project. Use the links below to view them (on youtube) and further explore how you and your organization can cultivate personal networks that ignite innovation, enhance execution, and help you to thrive at work and beyond.

Thrive At Work
“Reduce Collaborative Overload and Invest in Networks to Clarify Priorities, Improve Productivity, and Enhance Well-Being”

Produce Innovative Solutions
“Creating Trust, Purpose, and Energy in Networks to See Opportunities, Solve Problems, and Create Emergent Innovation”

Execute Work Efficiently
“Design a Network That Builds Agility, Cultivates Influence, and Drives Results”