Monday, December 7, 2009

Strengthen your connections

Melting Ice
Image by vitroid via Flickr
Don't underestimate the value of connections. While we (and by we I mean I) sometimes get caught up looking for ROI and hard, measurable facts, some things are more esoteric. Yet just as valuable.

When Google bought YouTube, they thought the asset was the impressions the videos would deliver. What they found more valuable was the connections and conversations people were having around and because of those videos.

Today, you can't have a network without the connections. Some connections between you and others are incredibly strong. When you start noticing the same people at events and see the same names on email, comments or other outreach, that's an indication of a strong connection.

But strong connections aren't conducive to growth, either personal or the growth of the network itself. And while it can happen, strong connections make it difficult for others to join in the connection. So instead, we tend to keep increasing the strength of our own connections, since that's easier than breaking in. I think that approach misses the mark.

Spend less time strengthening strong connections.

If your connection with another person is truly strong, it will survive a bit of neglect on your part. I know that people will tell you that relationships take work. I've found that not to be the case. At least, not a significant amount of work. And if it does, then it's probably a relationship I'm probably not going to miss.

Rather, spend your time shoring up tenuous connections. Reach out to those you're loosely connected to, and make those connections stronger. You'll quickly find yourself exposed to new ideas, new people and new opportunities. And those other strong connections? Still rock solid. Now you have even more.

Which tenuous connection will you work on strengthening first?

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