Are You a Natural Born Connector?
I asked myself “Are you a connector?”. I started thinking about people and the result of that conversation is this post. What kind of connector are you? I made a list. We each have a natural preference? What’s yours? Vote! I explain the 4 types more fully below.
Are you an Ideas Connector? > A CREATIVE THINKER
Are you a Risk Connector? > A CRITICAL THINKER
Are you a People Connector? > A SOCIAL THINKER
Are you a Solution Connector? > A CURATION THINKER
Are you a People Connector? > SOCIAL THINKER
My poster-child people connector has to be @KeithFerrazzi, Author of Never Eat Alone. Keith is an extreme connector who was born pre-digital and has transitioned into a social digital connected age. I’ve not met Keith, we have spoken, he has play-tested my board game, I’ve even got a quote from Keith on the box! He lives by his mantra.
Then there’s my #usguys buddy @Josepf another extreme connector. I shared an idea with Josepf a few weeks ago and before I’d blinked he’d flipped me intro’s to 5 people (I knew some of them), but his action tipped me into action. Like Dominoes. Another natural. I admire connectors. To fearlessly connect people is a true talent. Am I a people connector? No.
Are you an Idea Connector? > CREATIVE THINKER
That’s me. I live in the world of ideas and possibilities. Ideas never arrive fully formed. Acquiring and connecting ideas is a skill set. I work well at forging abstract connections. I’m used to blank looks as I try to explain new ideas. I connect dots where others don’t see a pathway. I’m incredibly non-judgemental. I see possibility everywhere.
Being an idea connector, I connect people when they contribute to the solution. I try to calculate the risk, but that comes second or third. I lead with ideas.
Are you an Solution Connector? > CURATIVE THINKER
Triggered by Brandie’s comments I’ve been looking for a name for the fourth type of connector. A solution connector isnt someone who create new ideas per se, being curative is just a different kind of creative. They think a little more like a museum curator – they tell a story. Their special skill is deciding which bits to keep and which to remove. The put together a Solution or an Exhibit. They let the whole idea tell a story. They assemble. Brandie is a great example.
Another metaphor is standing on the shoulders of giants. I watched this done brilliantly by Dave Kellogg whilst at Business Objects. Dave is a master of assembling ideas from across the gene pool and then crafting a wonderful story.
For me I’ve learned that Curation is far more effective and far more scalable than Creative Thinking. There’s so many books that now talk about the reuse of existing ideas. Curation Thinking is on the rise.
Last, but not least, there are Risk Connectors.
Are you an Risk Connector? > CRITICAL THINKER
OK, this isn’t me. I analyse everything, but I’m not a risk connector. Risk Connectors are analytical. They see challenges. They connect risk. They calculate the total risk of any decision or action. They see the domino effect of one bad decision. They are attached to reality and the current situation. They view their role as protecting the enterprise, protecting process. They see why ideas won’t work. As an innovator I’ve learned to love these people. They bring huge value to the discussion. I hunt out these people to help me in my crusade. They turn my ideas into ideas other people appreciate.
I experienced a lot of these folks at Business Objects (now SAP). The culture was all about analytical or critical thinking. If your ideas pass these people that could be a good thing, it could also mean your idea isn’t adventurous enough. I listened to these people and tried to blend in their objections. They see problems I don’t see and provide answers I didn’t think of. I love to engage with Risk Connectors to help me shape and validate ideas. You’ll never change their perspective, but you can win their respect.
Revision. As of May 23rd I updated this post to include Solution Connectors and Curative Thinking.