Become a Connector

Published: January 20, 2015
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Connectors know everyone. They’re not simply collectors of people. They join people with others. They promote their networks by sharing them generously. In a positive spiral of teaming, requests lead to introductions which, in turn, ignite collaborations that eventually prompt referrals. The cycle continues as connectors expand the base of pooled talent. Consider three strategies for growing your network:

Make new acquaintances

Introverts and extroverts manage the challenge of networking quite differently. Someone energized by connecting might be more likely to serve the first conversation volley in a fresh social situation. A person more invigorated by solitude might be the best listener in a crowd. A mutual appreciation for the value of these differences often ends up in a new association.

Reacquaint with colleagues who have become overlooked or neglected

Instead of wondering why someone hasn’t reached out, take ownership of the partnership by initiating the reconnection. The embers are usually still glowing in a relationship wanting to be rekindled. The effort required to fan the flames almost always creates warmth.

Dedicate regularly scheduled time to participate on LinkedIn

Rather than merely copying your resume into social media space, take advantage of the exponential value of who you know to contribute ideas and resources within your area of expertise. Elevate the visibility of talent with proficiencies outside of your own to others.

“Do you know someone who knows someone who…?” Increasingly so, the answer is yes. If you come up blank when needing a resource either for your team or one of your colleagues, it may be time to grow your network. Become a connector.

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Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.