The tightly built, traditional structure of organisations has given way to more fluid organisations, according to networking consultants. Dena Mitchelli, consultant for Potential International, told delegates at the IPD conference in Olympia that managers are now rated on their ability to adapt and respond to change. "Building and managing networks is not only your key to organisational success, it supports and nourishes you personally." What people need from their respective networks will vary, as are the forms they will take. Contact may range from the scheduled meeting to spontaneous comment or a chance meeting. "Networking is not a precise science," says Mitchelli. "But the responsibility for your network is up to you." Nor do we operate in one single network. There are four basic sets of relationships we need to understand and cultivate: personal, organisational, professional and strategic. These can be discrete or they may overlap. Personal networks develop outside the workplace and are based on the exchange of help and support. Organisational networks focus on who you need to know to achieve a given objective. When joining a new department, division or organisation, it is essential to identify who has real power and influence in the group. This should not be seen as a mercenary exercise, however. There is as much to be gained from giving as there is from taking. "People reward' those who invest in them and distance' themselves from those who don't," warns Mitchelli. Professional networks revolve around the knowledge their members hold. They are dyn-amic, changing as careers develop. They can also be extensive and very beneficial if used skillfully. Strategic networks are even wider in their reach, spanning organisations. It is no longer possible to work as a closed system, relying on own resources for all needs. These are the networks that generate contracting-out in organisations, as well as creating profit centres and reducing the number of directly employed workers. These networks are driven by the need to create more with less'. This can only be done with alliances and networking. {{PEOPLE MOVES }}