How to decide whether it's worth it to join an executive network.

Plenty of networks exist worldwide, whether they’re informal or informal. Whenever you join a club, membership program, professional associations, meeting or even a leadership workshop series. Why does it matter though, or why should you care? Sometimes, it’s hard to quantify what belonging to a network provides, even after you evaluate all of the benefits. At the end of the day, what you put into once you join is often what you get out of it. Frankly, some people get more out certain networks than others.

Evaluating networks is probably not unlike comparison shopping using your mobile phone, online search, or in-person visits to understand the value of products and services better. I came across this blog post that states the value on a very basic level, membership means being a part of the inner circle. Who doesn’t want that? 

On a broad level, membership programs can be coined as pay to play annual memberships or even loyalty and rewards programs spanning a wide assortment of industries including airline, groceries, retail, credit card, telecommunications, entertainment, and so much more. The choice is staggering when it comes to increasing your potential for perks and to be a part of the inner circle: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Comcast, Sephora, Costco, Sam’s Club, airline mileage programs like Southwest, United, and American Airlines, or credit card programs like the REI MasterCard, American Express Platinum Card, and Citi Thank You Preferred card.

American Express’s famous slogan has been stuck in my head for as long as I can remember...membership has its privileges. Then, there’s a Mastercard’s Priceless advertising campaign that showcases personal stories about its unexpected benefits.

Being a part of a community like a network can tie you in by association. For instance, Constellation Research fosters decision support and career development of innovative executives as part of its vibrant ecosystem that brings together business professionals from technology companies, leaders who buy or influence the purchase of enterprise technology, expert technology analysts, and thought leaders. Take a look at any of our DisrupTV web shows, and you’ll get a sense of who we’re connecting with to share different perspectives using technology to make these speakers available to a wider audience. 

If you want to gain new perspectives from leaders who are deeply involved in the transformation of their business, most of our panel discussions from our annual innovation summit, Connected Enterprise, weigh in on surprisingly compelling topics like the transformation of the sports and entertainment industry. Explore any Connected Enterprise video in our video collection to get a better understanding of how we connect and learn from executives across multiple industries and functions. 

The Constellation ecosystem is both inclusive and exclusive.

The Constellation ecosystem has grown steadily, since the firm was established six years ago. We’ve been privileged to welcome Top 100 Social CIOs, global experts, best-selling business authors, rock star entrepreneurs, executives from F500 companies, among others. 

As a subset of that ecosystem or inner circle, we offer the Constellation Executive Network, which is open to a self-selected group of innovative leaders who can join through annual membership. At a basic level, it’s a chance to partner with us to solve some of your most pressing business problems, stay informed and more easily weed out much of the noise and hype, connect with likeminded leaders, and influence research that helps to shape what technology vendors will do in the future. Ultimately, it’s value is best defined by what you invest in terms of sharing your preferences along with your knowledge or business concerns and strategic considerations, so that we can understand your needs and work with you to help you think through multiple scenarios or wrestle with tough decisions. It’s designed to serve you when you need it and exist as an added go-to resource. 

Networks aren’t for everyone.

The programming for each one varies and carries a certain tenor. Ours is entertained with the intersection of technology and business and how innovation involving these two impacts industries, society, and culture. If that remotely interests you, then the Constellation Executive Network might be the right one for you. 

Our community of leaders is vibrant and dynamic just like the disruptive technologies and transformational business models that we cover. We take everything that we analyze, while we assess the big trends tied to enterprise technology and think bigger about the implications for the future. After that, we distill it into what that means for different industries and use that as a foundation for addressing the opportunities faced in each organization or business by specific leaders. That’s when the tailored packaging of analyst inquiries offered to our executive network comes in to help leaders tackle their specific issues, while getting the chance to connect with a wider community of innovation-minded leaders to share information or ideas.

So, back to the big question: what’s the big deal about an executive network?

It is what you make it to be. What you commit in time and energy typically affects the value you get out of it. It’s not unlike investing in a new technology skill or trying to grow your financial portfolio. If you are too busy to leverage a network, then it can often be much hard to accomplish what you’d like to as quickly as you’d like to. Fortunately, we tend to work with senior leaders who may face competing demands from investors, their Board of Directors, and their other stakeholders, and they often have the means or resources that enable them to reshuffle their priorities or get creative with their schedules when they need to, so that they can stay engaged members in our ecosystem.

First, you can enjoy all of the general benefits like being associated with likeminded colleagues and making new, unexpected connections because who doesn’t like to be invited to play in the same sandbox as all the other cool kids. Tapping into the unique benefits like confidential analyst inquiries to accelerate problem solving or making deeper connections with certain key people is mostly likely where you'll get the most value, so active participation when you need or want a boost is key to your success.

In this New Age of Experiences and Storytelling, it doesn’t hurt to have a compelling success story or two to share the next time that you’re at a cocktail party or professional mixer. Joining the type of executive network that’s right for you can help you boost the changes for developing that collection of good stories. 

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