One of the biggest assets any successful businessperson can develop is their personal network as a super connector.
The wider the network, the better chances of being able to tap into individuals and resources necessary to excel in a hyper-connected world. As a super connector, you’re positioned to leverage relationships and introduce people, ideas, and resources into any scenario.
Of course, the advent of social media allows instantaneous communication and transfer of information on a global basis. You’re starting to see this influence as even traditional business structures are evolving to become more agile and responsive as more and more people adopt social platforms as a primary means of accelerating connections and engagement.
Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do
Malcom Gladwell wrote extensively about the evolution of ideas into a social phenomenon as concepts take on a life of their own and spread. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do”.
Gladwell calls connectors the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. These are the people who “link us up with the world…people with a special gift for bringing the world together”. Connectors are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances”.
Further, Gladwell characterizes these individuals as having social networks of at least one hundred people.
To illustrate, he cites the following examples: the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Milgram’s experiments in the small world problem, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” trivia game, Dallas businessman Roger Horchow, and Chicagoan Lois Weisberg, a person who understands the concept of the weak tie.
Gladwell also attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy”.
Successful people already recognize that connecting with others is very important, but they fail to reach superconnector status because they’re limited in how they approach their networking activity.
A Super Connector Is A Community Builder
A super connector builds communities by connecting others with each other, not just connecting WITH others.
As demonstrated by Gladwell’s reference to computer networks and hubs, the intuitive approach is to go out and meet people. Develop a relationship and do fun stuff together. Connecting with others is one step.
If you view your relationships solely as a one-to-one paradigm, you will essentially develop a network that would look much like a hub and spoke wheel. You’re in the center and connected individually to people within your network.
In the era internet computing, networks themselves have taken on a far more exponential connectivity between nodes. George Glider pioneered the concepts of Metcalfe’s Law (named after the inventor of Ethernet), which essentially states: The value of a network increases exponentially as new, interconnected nodes are added to the network. As nodes connect to each other, the level of inter-connectedness increases, which adds density to the network.
Now take this out of a computer network context and apply it to personal relationships, you end up with a much different approach to networking itself. In fact, it’s no longer “networking”, but “community development”.
A Superconnector Connects Entire Communities
A successful superconnector knows the path to networking success lies not in one-to-one relationships, but in many-to-many relationships. Many-to-many relationships within the same context are essentially the foundation of a community, which is the ultimate goal of any good super connector.
A super connector derives value, not just from the one-to-one connections, but the ability to influence an entire community on an exponential basis throughout the entire web of community connections.
A super connector doesn’t just connect WITH others, a super connector CONNECTS others with each other.