In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point he describes three types of people: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. ‘Connectors’ are people who connect other people together. ‘Mavens’ are people with information. ‘Salesmen’ are people with strong negotiation skills. The book was, and still is, credited with influencing how people think about sales and how ideas catch on.
The Tipping Point was first published in 2000. Since then technology has allowed us to connect in different ways at all times. But just because connections exist doesn’t mean that they are of value. I think most people will agree that it’s what we do with those connections that really matters. This is the thrust behind a new way of thinking about Connectional Intelligence is the book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence by Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni.
In an article in Fast Company, Dhawan describes Connectional Intelligence as “Sift(ing) through the noise of social media and technology to get big things done.” The notion harks back to the old adage ‘quality over quantity’. Dhawan poses three questions as a framework for challenging our traditional concept of networking in this way:
- What do you care about most?
- What do you already know?
- How can one problem solve another?
To accompany and complement this framework, Dhawan and Joni suggest a new paradigm for categorizing different types of people: thinkers (the curious type), enablers (who share ideas and bring people together) and connection executors (the doers).
A big part of this is about knowing (and accepting) yourself and what your strengths are in situations that involve connecting with other people, and using this to your advantage – opening yourself up to bigger things and bigger ideas, by looking deeper than your connections, to make magic happen.