by Pat Palleschi, Ph.D.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told to network to find a job — but, as my colleague Rob Cain has often told me, there is a way to network that doesn’t use “number of people I link to” as a metric.
There are certain people who bridge ties to new people that you don’t usually have within your sphere. The people who bridge ties are “super connectors” — they power up your networking and bring you better results with less drudgery.
So, as you network (face-to-face or using social networking sites), be aware of the key people who can “bridge” you to groups you usually don’t access. They can bridge you from a network of teachers to a network of scientists, for instance. That bridge may help you consult a group of scientists or train them on management. It can enable you to re-invent what you have been doing into a new language.
Turns out, social media is much like the networking of five years ago, because it follows the rule of “it is who you know” that gets you to where you want to be. As Rob Cross, an associate professor of management in the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, says:
“Age-old wisdom suggests it is not what but whom you know that matters. Over decades this truism has been supported by a great deal of research on networks. Work since the 1970s shows that people who maintain certain kinds of networks do better: They are promoted more rapidly than their peers, make more money, are more likely to find a job if they lose their own, and are more likely to be considered high performers.”
The power of “super connectors” is immense. The problem with networking with the people you already know is that (in all likelihood) you share the same mindset. How can you grow without gaining new information, new perspectives and new points of view?
Pat Palleschi is the President of The Executive Agency. She has devoted the past 25 years to creating HR strategies that help organizations and individuals succeed. As VP of Human Resources Development at Disneyland, she helmed the Disney University, where she and her team made it their mission to attract, develop and retain Disney Cast members who were “pumped to perform.” Before Disney, Pat served as Senior VP of Training for Bank of America. She earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts and chaired the Speech Communication Department at Loyola Marymount