THE DIVERSITY OF WEAK TIES
Allies, by the nature of the bond, are few in number. By contrast, there are potentially hundreds or thousands of connections that also play a role in your professional life. These are the folks you meet at conferences, old classmates, co-workers, or just interesting people. Sociologists refer to these contacts as “weak ties” ~ people with whom you have spent low amounts of low-intensity time but with whom you’re still friendly.
Weak ties usually sit outside the inner circle. Thus, there’s a greater likelihood that a weak tie will be exposed to new information or a new job opportunity you’d otherwise miss. To be sure, weak ties are uniquely helpful so long as they hail from a different social circle or industry niches and therefore bring new information and opportunities. A weak-tie acquaintance whose job and background is identical to yours is unlikely to offer unique network intelligence. So when connecting with acquaintances, prioritize diversity in order to broaden the overall reach of your network.
- Look at your calendar for the past six months and identify the five people you spend the most time with – are you happy with their influence on you?
- Introduce two people who do not know each other but ought to. Then think about a challenge you face and ask for an introduction to a connection in your network who could help.
- Imagine you got laid off from your job today. Who are the 10 people you’d e-mail for advice? Don’t wait-invest in those relationships now.
- Identify a weaker tie with whom you’d like to build an alliance. Help her by giving her a small gift-forward an article or job posting.
Fortune Magazine/Book Excerpt ‘The Start-Up of You”