Generating ideas, connections, and action

How Communication in Networks Differs from Communication in Organizations by June Holley

June Holley shares with us this quick tool, a chart, to help us understand how to transform our communication to be more network-like. It’s a short cheat sheet that can help us expand our thinking of what it takes to build a network.


Find it below.

Here is a chart on challenges that network face in their communications.


Network Communication Challenge

Actions/ Strategies

People are in different organizations and use different communications tools and platforms.

  • Need to decide on a set of platforms and tools and provide training to network participants

  • Practice groups will need design session for their comm ecosystem – then need to check-in and coach to make sure they are using

  • Need to encourage people to become tech stewards to help people out

  • Encourage participants to “learn how to learn” and try out many different platforms

  • Encourage people to recommend new platforms


People are often used to one-way communication and are not used to initiating conversation or even information.


Network activities are often only a small part of the individual’s work (or volunteer) life so it’s harder for them to stay on top of the actions they have committed to do.

  • Need to find out ways to push messages to people through email and text loops

  • Need to set up reminders through calendars or project management

  • Use Google docs so people know where to go for list of what they agreed to do

  • Coordinators need to send out reminders frequently

People in networks often don’t know each other or know each other well.

  • Continually encourage people to reach out to others (Twosies) and create charts and/or surveys that group people by interests so they know they will have something in common with the person they call

  • Make sure that video calls have time for introductions and breakout rooms

  • Need to make it a norm to Close triangles; start with proto-governance group

People in one practice group will not know what is going on in others or know what network guardians are doing

  • This is the hardest

  • Set up incentive system for sharing

  • Ask specific people to share stories from their practice group in enewsletter and Facebook

  • Have proto gov group seek out stories

People need continual feedback about whether they and their various groups are acting in a network way

  • Set up tracking system (Network FitBit) and engage all parts of the network in using, analyzing results, and developing strategies to shift

  • Capture stories (and encourage people to make short videos) that capture learnings and give examples



June has been weaving economic and community networks for more than 25 years. In 1981 she discovered complexity science and became intrigued with the process of transformation. How could communities change in ways that would make them good places for everyone?

With others in Appalachian Ohio, she catalyzed cascades of experimentation, observing and documenting the dynamics that enabled many hundreds of people to start and then expand businesses. With these entrepreneurs, she mobilized dozens of area organizations to collaborate, self-organize and create an environment that would help these businesses innovate and work together. Follow her at