The Power of SUPER CONNECTORS: Using “bridging” to build networks
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told that they “have to network to find a job” — but, as my colleague Rob Cain has often told me, there is a way to network that doesn’t use “number of people I link to” as a metric. There are certain people who “bridge ties” to new people that you don’t usually have within your sphere. The people who “bridge ties” are “super connectors” — they power up your networking and bring you better results with less drudgery.
So, as you network (face to face or using social networking sites) be aware of the key people who can “bridge” you to groups you usually don’t access. They can bridge you from a network of teachers to a network of scientists, for instance. That bridge may help you consult to a group of scientists or provide training on management to a group of scientists. It can enable you to re-invent what you have been doing into new language. Turns out, Social media is much like the the networking of five years ago because it follows the rule of “it is who you know” that gets you to where you want to be.
As Rob Cross, an associate professor of management in the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, says
“Age-old wisdom suggests it is not what but whom you know that matters. Over decades this truism has been supported by a great deal of research on networks. Work since the 1970s shows that people who maintain certain kinds of networks do better: They are promoted more rapidly than their peers, make more money, are more likely to find a job if they lose their own, and are more likely to be considered high performers.”
The power of “super connectors” is immense. The problem with networking with the people you already know is that (in all likelihood) you share the same mindset. How can you grow without gaining new information, new perspectives and new points of view?