Thursday, September 27, 2007

What is your CQ? (Connection Quotient)

Your Connection Quotient is the ability you have to grasp the importance of connections, and the understanding you have of your role in making those connections. In the context of social networking, the Connection Quotient is the crux of the social equation that provides you with powerful connections, or leaves you with relationships that have very little meaning. The Connection Quotient can be applied to an individual or a group of individuals. It often determines (or at least can serve as a predictor of) success.

An individual's Connection Quotient depends first on whether they understand the importance of human connections. Grab any Sociology 101 textbook from Amazon and you will quickly see why these connections are important. But do we understand our role in making connections? Have you ever met someone but could not figure out what about them interested you enough to stay in touch? Then, days, weeks, or years later, you found something in common?

We don't depend on our connections alone for success in our endeavors. We depend on those we know and who they know, as well. Our social networks may appear to form by accident, but they are really the result of a concerted (though perhaps uncoordinated) effort by many interconnected people. But why are they uncoordinated? What possibilities could result from coordinating these activities? I think the possibilities are endless, but first we must understand our role in the process.

I read a very enlightening book a while back. Even if you have read it, I encourage you to take a second look. It describes our roles in our social network, whether we intentionally engage in our network or not. If nothing else, it will let you know why others around you do what they do . . .

The book is The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Don't stop, even if you just finished reading for the Nth time (which you should)
-- step away from the back arrow or the X in the upper right corner of your screen . . ..

This is not a complete review -- it's focused (and short).

It's about the Connectors in your world . . .

Gladwell identified three primary roles in social networks (he referred to them as social epidemics, but we know what he meant :-).

Connectors: These have wide social circles. They are the "hubs" of the human social network.

Mavens: These are knowledgeable people, who are in touch with their surroundings (and ours).

Salesmen: These are charismatic people with excellent negotiation and persuasion skills. They provide "soft" influence rather than force when inspiring others to do things.

You may already know which you are, but do take a moment and read on. If you are not a Connector, please take the time to understand who that you know is. Connectors are an integral part of your social network, and knowing who they are and how they operate is critical.

So what makes someone a Connector? Obviously, a Connector knows a lot of people. Connectors seem to know everyone. Connectors bring people together. Connectors meet a wide variety of people. Connectors often have more friends and acquaintances, not just because they are more sociable, but because they are more willing to cultivate and maintain these relationships.

Connectors are:

* Specialists in people
* Have a knack for turning friends and acquaintances into connections.
* Manage to occupy many different worlds at the same time -- thereby bringing them together.
* Social glue: they provide a link for us to the rest of the world.

Gladwell provided a short test you can take to see if you are a connector. Visit his site [right-click, open in new window] and see if you qualify! Send the link to others you know to help them understand their role in your network! (send them a link to this post, too!)

There's more on the Tipping Point at Business Week. This is a must read (or re-read) book if you really want to understand why social networking is changing how everything is done!

What do you think?


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