On Aligning Networks and Strategy to Drive Change


maya townsend headshot
Maya Townsend

Founder and Lead Consultant at Partnering Resources

Episode notes

How do you approach network alignment to drive for change in an organization as the leader or management? Conducting a network analysis will allow you to identify influencers/leaders who will be pivotal in helping you execute change without overlooking anyone. 

In this episode, Jenny speaks with Maya Townsend, Founder and Lead Consultant of Partnering Resources, a management consulting agency that tackles big-picture organizational challenges. An expert in organizational networks, Maya breaks down the three types of influencers and which type holds the most influence. She shares her most profound insights from her 25-year career and gives examples of times she successfully aligned companies’ networks and strategies

Listen in to learn the importance of conducting a network study to find influencers/leaders within the organization’s networks to connect and support them. You will also learn the importance of being better at listening to people we deliver value to and how not to allow the power/privilege of being at the top drive us to lose track of the other voices. 

“It’s not enough to tell a change; it’s not enough to tell a good story, what we really need to do when we’re embarking on a change is engaging people in a real way.” — Maya [30:28]

Show notes

  • [2:18] Maya on her background in organizational networks and change.
  • [4:11] How organizational networks work to connect everyone and enable things to happen within an organization.
  • [5:54] The three types of networks; the hub, the gatekeeper, the pulsetakers, and their importance in organizations.
  • [9:01] How to do a network study to find influencers/leaders within your organization. 
  • [13:53] The importance of aligning the networks with new organizational charts for a reorg to work.  
  • [15:41] How to get the influencers/leaders on board to influence others on new organizational charts. 
  • [18:38] How to approach change resistance in an organization without writing off anyone’s concern.
  • [23:07] Example of an influencer/leader doing too much plus how to identify and fix that. 
  • [28:25] The value of having honest conversations about the downsides of change to avoid regrets down the road. 
  • [32:36] How leaders can think critically and connect with people in networks and not hierarchy.  
  • [36:01] The 3 organizational insights that changed how Maya approaches her work.

Relevant links

About our guest:

maya townsend headshot
Maya Townsend

Founder and Lead Consultant

Maya Townsend is the Founder and Lead Consultant at Partnering Resources, a management consulting company, that brings together diverse groups to collectively tackle complex, system challenges. She is also the co-editor of Handbook for Strategic HR.

Additional resources