Originally published in the Oct. 2013 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal
By Fred Morley
What's most important to growing a business, finding a good job, or finding success in the job you have? This is not a trick question. We all know that what's most important in achieving these objectives is a solid and expanding business and personal network.
More and more, people are turning to the Connector Programs, a concept that started in Nova Scotia and is spreading across North America, as a way to fast track the development of their networks. Why is this important? Well, when networks intensify, people succeed and communities grow and prosper.
Who are Super Connectors?
Communities that enjoy greater success tend to have a good number of what are called super connectors. Keith Ferrazzi in his book "Never Eat Alone," defines super connectors as "people who maintain contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and know them well enough to give them a call. Restaurateurs, head-hunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, public relations people, politicians, and journalists are the best super connectors because it is their job to know everyone."
Many communities in Nova Scotia have super connectors. They're the people who know everybody and everyone knows them. They're the ones, that like it or not, seem to know everything that is going on in town and they're the first stop when you are trying to understand the mood of a community or find a connection to it if you are a "come from a way". We used to call them busy bodies. Now we call them super connectors. How times have changed.
Malcolm Gladwell points out that connectors have some special characters... a combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability and energy that make them successful at building networks and linking people to people. At the Greater Halifax Partnership, running our Connector Program for the last three years has allowed us to identify the characteristics of a super connector.
What makes Super Connector Super?
- They're people who will fit someone into their schedule within a week that needs to get connected.
- In a first meeting, they will give someone a full 30 to 40 minutes of undivided attention and sometimes longer.
- They always "pay it forward' and give connectees three great contact names.
- A super connector always stays in touch.
- A super connector never eats alone.
How to Become a Super Connector
Investment guru James Altucher identifies several ways one can become a super connector.
- Introduce two connectors that don't know each other. Two massive networks of people will connect through you.
- Introduce two people that have a common idea... they will not forget who set them on the path to collaboration.
- Engineer or participate in meetings full of interesting people.
- Reconnect with old friends and colleagues.
- Show up for meetings and keep your word to connect people forward.
- Make time for connecting.
It takes time and commitment to grow and nurture a personal network, but connecting may be the most important thing you do for your job, your business and your community.
Fred Morley is the executive vice president and chief economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership. He has written over 100 articles on economic growth issues and presented his views to dozens of organizations and governments around the world. You can reach Fred at email@example.com