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Why Being The Most Connected Is A Vanity Metric - Forbes

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My newest Forbes article...

"Over the last half century, a field of academic study called network science has turned traditional relationship building on its head. Surprisingly, research shows that being the most connected person is not an effective way to build your network. The single best strategy is one that almost no one talks about."

Well said.

When given the choice between going wider and going deeper, go deeper.

Every day is an opportunity to deepen a relationship.

Absolutely.  That's why those LION -- linked in open networkers--have failed so miserably.  They are missing a key ingredient which is meaning and worth.

There are some benefits to having an open network, as Michael's article points out:

What we now know is that the simple act of constantly putting yourself in an open network, a network where people aren’t connected to each other, will give you a huge advantage in your career. It will give you a vision advantage that allows you creatively capitalize on new amazing opportunities. More importantly, it will expose you to the conditions you need in order to build the skill-set and mindset of a network broker.

I think the key is to be mindful when you are expanding your network.

Specifically, ask why you're increasing the quantity of connections rather than increasing the quality.

If there's a good reason, plant some new seeds in your garden.

If all you have done is exchanged some business cards, you don't really have a relationship, even a shallow one.   If you don't spend some time getting to know someone, what motivates them, what they are passionate about, you do not have a relationship.  You need to establish some commonality between you and another person.   The impact of this commonality is huge.   If you doubt it, consider the fact thats that upwards of 40% of all jobs are filled by candidates already working in that company, and why dating sites have such poor success rates.   People get better jobs within companies because there is a shared common experience.  Dating sites fail because "just wanting to be in a relationship" isn't really a shared interest, it's a goal.   People have been sold on the idea that the internet is going to do all the relationship building for you and that is simply not true.   It is a wonderful tool that helps you leverage your time and span great distances, but you still need to be able to make that connection. 

I think many, if not most people, fear the risk of rejection that comes with building new relationships.   It is true, it is a risk, but so what, it is not like you will melt if someone doesn't connect with you.

Good point.

To that point, Scott Adams says it's more important to have systems than goals:

A networking system is designed to accept rejections and continually improve existing relationships.

All relationships are progressions and we don't need a lot of relationships to be successful.

Amazingly enough, there wasn't a class in biz school about that.  Oddly enough, the place I found it most emphasized was in acting/improve classes - you need to be able to form a relationship with your audience in order to be successful.   

I'm not sure what a network is or it's value in terms of being a vanity metric, but I do understand the value of close ties with some individuals and loose ties with others.

Loose ties help me expand my awareness of the world and learn about domain expertise in areas that are beyond my own depth and direct experience. I depend upon loose ties for most of my professional career, skill and even, at times, personal development.

Close ties are those individuals by blood or by choice that I depend upon for enjoying good company over a meal or other leisurely indulgence without expectation of advancing an outcome other than it better be an authentic experience or full of enthusiastic pleasure.

The idea of adopting a system vs a goal orientation is an interesting way of saying practice vs progress.  My experience is that you need both in this world and neither is the whole answer.  They are a recursive daisy chain embedded in each other: a system alone is worthless without an ongoing sense of progress.  And a life of progress alone without a method to support and nourish oneself is pure hell.

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