My Personal Knowledge Network visualisation by Bart Verheijen

Personal network mapping exercise

As a pre-conference workshop to the KM World 2018 conference in Washington, I attended the Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) workshop by Harold Jarche and Catherine Shinners.

Your personal network is your lifeline and your communication channel. Having an extensive and diverse personal network will help you promote your work, generate new ideas, and assess & improve your own work. (If you want to know more on PKM by Harold Jarche, check out his blog at or more specifically

In the pre-conference workshop we did a little personal network mapping exercise which I will share with you. As mentioned, it is part of the PKM programme by Harold Jarche and I will only share my insights, not the entire exercise.

First step: list the people (1 to 3) you would go to for:
– Informal Socializing
– Discussing important matters
– Promoting a new project
– Your profession or discipline
– Communicating to get work done
– Complex problems
– Career and work advice

You may list the same person multiple times. You will have a maximum of 21 different people listed now.

How many names do you have?
How do you feel about the size of your personal network?

The second step is to assess the people in your network with respect to important information for you. How many people are:

Age: younger; same age; older
Gender: same gender; different gender
Workplace: same department; different department; different company
Profession: same; different
Hierarchy: above you; same level; below you

These are just a few examples, you can think of many more assessment criteria that might be interesting to you. Furthermore, I would suggest leaving out criteria that are meaningless. If you are an independent consultant, for example, then workplace or hierarchy might not be relevant.

The third step is to assess the network size and diversity. From that assessment you can identify simple steps to improve your network in any way you prefer.

IFor example, if you have only company colleagues in your network, that will probably limit your opportunities to find a new job if you get laid off.

My personal assessment revealed my network to be large enough in size. It was diverse enough in many aspects, but not in Gender. So, in order to improve my personal knowledge network, I selected women from my network to approach for some of the questions above.

You can do this exercise for yourself or as a team or project. It will help you to deliberately and consciously grow and enhance your personal knowledge network.

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If you need help mapping networks at your company, get in touch so we can help you get started. We can create a simple knowledge network of your people in just one hour and from there we can discuss the relevant knowledge management options.

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