Friday, April 24, 2015

How radical have you been this week?

Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter said  “The most radical - and uplifting - thing we can do is introduce people to one another to discover common cause”

Indeed innovation, creativity, relationships, business, ideas, actions...all arise from people connecting.

So how many people have you introduced to each other this week?

Often networking advice is about expanding the number of people we individually know.  Less focus is given on actually making the connections between them.  Reflecting this reality,  social media networks like Linked-In and Facebook indicate how many people we have in common. But it stops there. As we often do.
In his bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell identifies those sociable sorts who are gifted in this arena. These Connectors have the extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances and subsequently know and connect a lot of people.  However you don’t necessarily have to be one, or a Sicilian for that matter (who in my view are equally gifted at generously sharing their contacts). You just have to consciously think about the people you know who would benefit from an introduction. And proactively facilitate the chance of them coming together.

How we connect people does depend on our culture and personality preferences.  Generally those from collective high context cultures such as the Chinese are more used to dense, intersecting networks and will take a long-term view of relationships. It comes less natural to individual low context cultures like Anglo-Saxons who have looser, wide networks, short term and more compartmentalized relationships. Interestingly and it is my experience, that in these cultures most business work will come from acquaintances; close friends are less likely to make it happen. In terms of personality preferences, extroverts may enjoy getting a group together. More introverted people like myself prefer to make 1:1 connections.    

At the end it does not matter what forum we choose to connect people.  It is just important that we do it.  Let the energy flow.

Go be radical. Connect your connections today.


Tweet @Rosabeth Kanter, 16 March 2015

Gladwell, M (2006), The Tipping Point, Little,  Brown and Company,

Image: © image as seen at Robert Doisneau exhibition “Paris en liberté, Roma 2013