In cultural setting personality, which usually determines all the functioning of the network, is usually taken for granted. However, people need specific skills in creating, developing and maintaining network. Individual differences in personality in terms of information processing, international access, alertness to world market developments and search for partnership, which result in the ability to form and maintain their network.
Understanding what proactive networking is and how it is done helps to use it in cultural setting in many ways. However, just knowing the external characteristics is not enough and another thing is trying to apply it in practice. In order to do that particular personal traits are necessary. Identifying and explaining might help to recognise or consciously develop them in the future.
To begin with, one of the most important skills, which every network entrepreneur has to possess, is alertness. It is ability to see processes as ones in which opportunities – hitherto overlooked – come to be perceived and exploited. Alertness enables to have maximum amount of information and consider necessary external factors that could create opportunity to develop or gain any advantage from the network. In this way, alertness is considered as something, what is separated from uncertainty.
However, this approach excludes other essential feature – creativity. To be alert to an opportunity would appear not to include anything except noticing that which is already fully developed, barely waiting to be grasped. Alertness does not exercise to think out of the box, and may obstruct seeing the ways in which network may be utilised. It closes the door for ability to plan couple of steps ahead, and to see connections and outcomes that are not given in the present. This is the moment when the imagination needs to step in
Imagination transcends the here and now and makes future connections possible. Alertness is preoccupied with connections of the past, unlike imagination creates new features in reforming past connections and creating new links between them. Imagination is a tool, which helps to shape the future using present knowledge. Consequently, it helps to see new ways of applying past experiences and constructing alternative strategic directions.
Imagination embraces such characteristics as judgment (ability to predict consequences of networking), the possibility of loss (realisation that predicted successful scenario could be not the final one and other network development perspectives are possible), and creativity (which involves recognition of one’s own creativity and ability to see opportunities within the network). Creativity brings new networking strategies and possibilities into being.
Finally, other intellectual properties, such as time perception and emotional intelligence, communication potential, general knowledge influence the process of networking. Personal characteristics that help to develop and use networks, and thus create business opportunities, may be also affected by social structures, so that factors such as education, skills and family background can enhance, or create barriers to success.
One way or the other, recognition of personality traits mentioned above as critical, increases chances of success and directs towards proactive networking.