I recently had the chance to read through colleague Michael Pokocky’s essay on The Collaborative Concentric Networking Model and when I chatted with him about it, was pleased to have him say I could reproduce it here on my weblog for others to read. If you are involved with online networking at any level, I think you’ll find this a fascinating and thought-provoking read…
I have come to the conclusion, that in general, nobody really knows what networking really is. In fact it means different things to different people; and add to that, the multitude of current, and new networking communities available to choose from , and this is a recipe for disaster for both the individual and the community portals that are available to everyone.
People get stuck because they are overwhelmed by choices; choices introduced by trusted friends, which makes it even more chaotic, because at the end of the day, one finds themselves members of several virtual communities, and over the long term the truth comes out that most people are discouraged and this leads to the feeling that they are spending most of their time managing their networks instead of getting things done.
People are desperate to belong to something larger than themselves and willingly join network after network until the idea finally sets in that they really don’t want their lives to be so complicated.
The solution to eliminate the symptoms of Networking Syndrome is to re-evaluate one’s reasons for being part of a networking community if the first place.
People are so frustrated by the management of their networks that they become uninspired and lack any motivation to network in the first place; it becomes mechanical and lethargic instead of influential and creative.
Well, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be like this, and there is a better way: Collaborative Concentric Networking.
What I think you’ll find good about this is that it encourages multi-community networking for the purpose of building one’s own Collaborative Concentric Network, which is unique to the individual, and effective in building relationships between friends, colleagues, business associates, etc.
The purpose is to build one’s own center of influence while reducing the time wasted now by not using one’s communities effectively.
I mention the relatively obvious way in which it strikes one differently according to one’s interests, purpose, values, needs, desires, age, etc.
Collaborative Concentric Networking keeps the promise of maximizing one’s results with minimum investment in time; I’m not suggesting that if you are new to networking that the amount of time you’ll have to invest in building several networks will be minimal, but rather over time, the amount of time to get things done, will increase once you have your own Collaborative Concentric Network.
So the question becomes, “Where to begin?”
The following model works for beginners as well as veterans of networking.
I will use my own experience to demonstrate how to build a Collaborative Concentric Network with the following characteristics:
- It’s easily manageable
- Allows for overlapping between networks
- Provides a steady stream of new friends, colleagues, business associates,etc.
- Your connections are connected with you because of common interests
- The ability to build a unique Collaborative Concentric Network while maintaining a connection to the networks to which you choose to belong
- You’ll focus your energy on one networking site that will act as your main home for your Collaborative Concentric Network instead of trying to maintain all of your networks at the same time
- It’s your choice as to which network will be your home base
- The ability to build trusted friends over time that you will know intimately
- The ability to interact with these friends on a deeper level because you know what they’re doing and what their needs and desires are
- The ability to create dynamic relationships with people who actually know who you are
- The Collaborative Concentric Network you build is actually a sub-set of the totality of all your connections on all networks combined.
- You drive your own network and draw from the database of all your other networks to add to you own Collaborative Concentric Network.
The steps to building a Collaborative Concentric Network:
- Join as many virtual communities as you desire
- Create a profile that is consistent across all your networks
- Provide links to all your networks and provide an invitation link as well
- Build as large a network as you want
- Select individuals whose profiles interest you.
- Send an email inviting potential members for your own Collaborative Concentric Network to initiate a dialog where you will introduce yourself to each other.
- Make sure you have chosen the virtual community that you want to build your Collaborative Concentric Network on, so that if the person you have initiated a conversation with strikes you as a person you want in your Collaborative Concentric Network, you will be able to invite them to it.
- Make sure that the Collaborative Concentric Network is not used at all except for building your own Collaborative Concentric Network on. In essence this will become the homepage of your Collaborative Concentric Network where you will spend your time in “collaboration, discussion, communication, and other methods of communication so that over time you will know every member of your Collaborative Concentric Network.
The purpose of this white paper is to share with you the method of maximizing the value you’ll receive from your Collaborative Concentric Network while at the same time minimizing the amount of time you spend on useless activities that result in you feeling overwhelmed, confused, chaotic and tied done and never getting anything done.
Interesting alternative to the “stick with one network and eschew all the others” approach, isn’t it? If this has made your brain whir on the topic of how to manage and control your online professional network, then perhaps you’d also enjoy checking out Michael Pokocky’s Blog too. Thanks for letting me republish this too, Michael!