Read-time: 10 min
You need to strategically identify the key people who will help you achieve your greatest ambitions and perhaps identify the people who are holding you back. What will be discussed is how to make a basic model of a human network, creating a way of classifying the types of people in the network as well categorising the network into groups. You will then be able to target specific people in your network with ease.
So a few days back I had an idea about modelling my network which stemmed into an idea of showing you how to model your network. This was founded after Bill Gates publicised that if he ever had another chance at life he would choose a career in network marketing. This as it happened to pique my interest in a number of ways. Why that choice? What do they do? It resonated that i didn’t have a great understanding of networks beyond the term of “networking” (or liming in Jamaica) and the understanding of a home computer network. What has become evident is that Mr Gates actually was bending the truth when he said that. I say this because the head of Microsoft which anybody and his dog will hopefully know is Mr Gates just led the corporation to bid for LinkedIn for $26 billion in the hope of marketing services to its network! For those money minded people for this to be a profitable buyout Microsoft has to estimate that the customer lifetime value of those on LinkedIn is greater than the bidding price of $26 billion. In lamens terms Microsoft are making a bet that they can offer paid services to the LinkedIn audience similar to that of “Pay $60 a year for the Premium profile”, “Pay $5 to boost your profile and be seen by recruiters” which will bring in revenues greater than £26 Billion over the lifetime of how long LinkedIn will stay relevant. By relevant i mean how long people choose to entertain the platform. Take a moment to consider that most websites lifetime is pitched at around 4 years… Let me remind you of MySpace. Now we see you, now we don’t. If there was ever a thought in your head to think big in terms of money and mass marketing, there is, ladies and gentleman, your role model.
After having piqued my interest about the concept of a network and networking i decided to draw a rather rough and ready diagram showing who was connected to myself most apparently and then beyond. But first a definition of a network is “a group or system of interconnected people or things.” So to give you an obvious example, your family will for most of you be a part of your life whom you provide something for and vice versa as a result are part of your network. The same goes for your friends. Now the people in your town or village whom you’ve never met or have any connection with are not part of your network. Now going beyond that, the complexity of the model increases as the number of variables rise, and it’s no longer effective or practical to include every single person in the model. So we have to categorise people in groups. And this is what i have drawn for you now to understand what i am talking about. We will then go onto why it can be strategically important.
As you can see each category is likely to have different reason or meaning behind why the connection between you and they exists. For example your professional network is so you can make a living and move your career forward. Your friends and their networks are the people you socialise with. The service network is people or organisations who serve you and you have contact with some frequency because you need or want them in your life.
Now for those whom are moving out of their family home into their own house will know that you need to create and manage the relationships of a bunch of different service providers whether its water, gas, electricity, etc. Some of you may have someone who manages that on behalf of yourself. Aren’t you lucky?
You will all know that your friends group changes over the years. From primary school, to secondary, from secondary to college, from college to university, from university to moving home or into a new home. The cycle goes on. Some friends you will stay in contact with, some you won’t. It’s on you and the other person to show an interest and develop a meaningful connection between yourselves. I’d like to bring to light the contrast from the seemingly necessary service based relationships to what i have called the social network on the model.
Now that we have some context behind what i am talking about i would like to develop the case of identifying and targeting strategic types of people within each node of the network. Now after some online research of how some strategists have historically categorised people it has shown a number of results in which there are similarities. Here is 4 examples listed below. Don’t stress over understanding what each one is, simply read through the list and take the time if you prefer to imagine what this person would look like.
- The Visionary
- The Realist
- The Connector
- The Star
- The Director
- The Producer
- The Star’s-assistant
- The Industry Insider
- The Mentor
- The Power Net-worker
- The Grace-Giver
- The Truth-Teller
- The Couch-Counsellor
- The Burden-Bearer
One less serious list from the perspective of going out into town on a social and this may be not discussed between your group but may be KNOWN is: – [It’s like identifying part of peoples personal brands or characteristics]
- The Smoker
- The Fearless person who talks to anyone
- The Shy person
- The Dancer
- The Organiser
The only reason why this list is easy to use and is easier to think about than the previous lists is because the definitions are much more understood, vivid and apparent. You’ve also been identifying these people since (hopefully) your were 18. This process of creating a goal-relevant list, understanding the list, and applying it to a network is what you need to do. You need to strategically identify the key people who will help you achieve your greatest ambitions and perhaps identify the people who are holding you back or maybe whom are currently irrelevant to your goal. I am not condoning breaking off the relationships with these people.
This is only the beginning since you have to present an opportunity which is great enough for the person who you are targeting to want to make a connection with you. This will not be discussed today.
I am going to take the first list mentioned and provide some definitions from another blog called “The Muse“.
1. The Visionary
The Visionary often sees things you can’t (or aren’t able to—just yet). This person will motivate and inspire you. Your current job might seem like a dead end, but one conversation with your Visionary, and you’ll be ready to clock in early and blow everyone away with your fresh ideas and renovated energy.
Spotting a Visionary is pretty easy; they’re always out meeting new people, working on new and exciting projects themselves, and moving and executing on their ideas. If you want to find a Visionary in your field, start hanging out at events that are aligned with your career or passion. Be on the lookout for a person there who inspires you—maybe she’s a speaker, maybe he was asking the panel interesting questions, maybe she was just someone you felt really energized with after speaking to. Dive in and compliment this person on what intrigued you, then continue the relationship by going to coffee and connecting on social media.
2. The Realist
This is the person in your network who will keep you grounded and create a nice balance with The Visionary. You want ownership of the new account the office just snagged? The Realist will help you organize your thoughts and create a plan for approaching the topic with your boss. The Realist is certainly not the Pessimist—a true Realist will help you find ways to improve on your ideas rather than just shut them down and force you to think clearly and level headedly on the matter. The Realist wants you to have the tools you need to succeed!
To find the Realists in your life, be on the lookout for people moving up in their careers and getting promotions and plum assignments because they’re completely aware of what needs to be done to get to the next level. Then, next time you’re dealing with a challenge or opportunity, ask to pick their brains on what’s worked so well for them.
3. The Connector
Connectors keep networks alive. These are the people who truly have an outstanding network that functions beyond a LinkedIn request. They may be leaders in their industry or just well-known in their own circles, but their gift is naturally and authentically connecting to people and helping them connect to each other. Their motto is, “No one knows everything, but everyone knows something.” The Connector may or may not be able to help you—but if not, he or she will always guide you in the right direction and to the right person.
Now, the Connector isn’t necessarily the Schmoozer—look for people who others genuinely like, respect, and go to. It may be the woman who always seems to have the hook-up in different departments, or the guy who’s a huge influencer in social media. Either way, be on the lookout for people with active schedules and calendars that are constantly booked. (But don’t fear, the Connector will always pencil you in.)
Now with the definitions of these 3 types of people being clear you can pattern match your experience of them with the definitions. I’d recommend taking a whole category and mapping it out.
So for example a friendship group might look like this:
Because this model contains a “Connector” it requires an extension of the model which most likely will look like this:
Now what does this all mean? Do you really need to know a lot of people? Or do you simply need to know the right kind of people to satisfy a mutual interest which helps you satisfy your own selfish goals- a win-win situation. I’d like to argue targeting the right kind of people will ’10x’ your success.
Peter Sage uses this story for effect during his interviews and i shall do the same changing one small detail as he cites the story using substance abusers and millionaires. Demographically that is less common and plays on the use of fear. I prefer to use a bunch of men playing video games which is entertaining for them but all the same doesn’t produce success in life (ironically perhaps due to the lack of fear).
If your one of a group of ten and the groups main interest is playing video games eight hours a day. Don’t be shocked if you become the tenth addicted video gamer. If your one of a group of ten and the groups’ main ambition is to become millionaires then don’t be surprised if you become the tenth.
On that note i’m going to finish on a number of recommendations:
- Go out and actively search for the people who will increase not your standard of living, but the quality of your life.
- Seek and connect with a professional network.
- Seek and connect with great friends who are dedicated to becoming better friends.
- Figure out what vibration people are emitting, give everyone a chance.
- Use the opportunities and awareness of the model to recruit a team that will make life great.