Sunday, May 07, 2006

The quality of connections

The more I observe and reflect on the quality of connections in community networks, the more interested I become in the question of how to assess for this quality.

Of course, interaction frequency will remain a baseline indicating quality connections, but what beyond that?

I'm thinking there are at least these 4 indicators.

Alignment - how much do people have in common?
Productivity - how much new value does the relationship create?
Introductions - how many valuable introductions does the relationship produce?
Learning - how much new learning do people gain from each other and collaboratively?

7 comments:

Valdis said...

Good list Jack!

And then there is the question of whether both sides of the link: A -- B : interpret the relationship the same way. Maybe A views the tie to B as "critical" wheras B views the tie to A as "good to have".

It gets real messy when we start to label intangibles... I'm sure there is some zen parallel... ;-)

SteveHabibRose said...

Good stuff! Nice to "meet you" Jack. Looking forward to having more contact with you and your associates.

I don't know exactly how you would quantify it, but I've found one of the essential elements to be being in control of our ego. Ego, and various manifestations of ego, have ruined a lot of great collaborative efforts.

Also, although this may be encompassed by some other measures, I think that having a measure of "expansivity" or something like that would be useful. The term "diversity" is often overused. But, the real message/opportunity of diversity is essential. By being open to -- and eager for -- diverse connections, we are able to expand ourselves and our networks in ways that are critical to our success.

As my friend Ami Peters used to say:

It Takes Us All!

Matt Moore said...

I'd like to try to quantify some of these as well as get subjective rankings. How about things like:
"I make an effort to see this person at least once a: week/month/year".
"I share one/two/three activities / institutional memberships with this person".
"I would tell this person if: - I became a parent / - I was suffering from a terminal disease / i won the lottery"

If we were looking at brute economics we might ask people: "I would end this relationship for $x" What is the value of x?

Valdis is of course right that we need to see relationships from the perspective of both A and B.

Arguably, this is where tools such as LinedIn fall down. You cannot grade the relationships you have with people. Nor can you highlight different social networks....

Antony Vila said...

Hi Jack,

I think that it's a difficult one. I organise speed networking events and have done for the last 2 years. One of the most asked questions from prospective attendees is 'who will I meet?'.

The think I wanted to mention though was that quantity can bring quality. At my events, attendees have 15, 5 minute meetings. This is enough time to work out whether there is a requirement now for their product / service. If there is - great, if not - move onto the next meeting.

The average rate of return for each attendee of a speed networking event is £500 per event.

Working hand in hand with long term relationship building, I believe that nocking on doors is a fantastic way of creating opportunities.

If you'd like to know more about the events you can visit http://www.contact25.com

Have you tried anything like it?

What do you think about it as a form of relationship building.

I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

Antony Vila

SteveHabibRose said...

To be quite honest with you, Antony, the idea of speed networking horrifies me. I'm sure it's right for some folks. But, not for me.

My style in face to face gatherings is to make initial greetings with a number of people, but then, if something "clicks," to take my time and get to know a few folks rather than trying to spend time with everybody. But, that's just my style.

I never really thought about it, but I have almost exactly the same style in my online networking as well. For example, my LinkedIn network is around 280 people (moderate sized). I don't seek to connect with everybody, but I'm quite open to connecting with anybody that feels right.

What about other folks?

Antony Vila said...

Hi Steve,

I appreciate what you're saying - it can be a bit daunting.

Long term, I'd agree that it's about the relationships you build and the ability to refer business and be yourself referred.

However in my opinion many business objectives live in the short term - i.e. in sales & opportunity generation.

I too would be interested in know other people's thoughts on this...

Jean Russell said...

What about trust?

- I would trust this person to deliver a file for me.

- I would trust this person to pick me up from the airport.

- I would trust this person to stay at my home.

- I would trust this person to care for one of my loved ones for a few hours.

I would also be careful about using how often people intereact. I have friends that I see rarely, but we have such a huge history together that I would call them very very close connections. Or think of it another way, there are connections that know me deeply or I know them, and others that I don't know the name of their dog much less the way they embarrassed themselves at the high school prom 20 years ago. In some sense, the more we know about someone, the more we know ways to connect them to someone else with something that sticks.