May 17, 2011
Liz published this at 7:47 am
It More Than What Naturally Occurs
I sat at Brogan’s Roast earlier this month and the thought struck me how much we depend on each other. No one would question that our friend, Chris, enjoys the friendship of thousands of folks who would stand by him and help whenever he needs it. All you had to do was be there to feel the expanse of love in the room coming from the countless people who are in his massive network of colleagues, friends, coworkers, family and people who consider him their teacher.
Numbers like that can provide a huge pool of energy when you want to help a cause, make something happen, or move an idea across the internet. Certainly that’s true. But knowing a lot of people and even having a lot of people who know you is not the same as having a strategic network. To be strategic, we have to look how we the sort of individuals in our networks into groups. How we sort our networks into groups can support or thwart our goals. Our choices in mentally forming those groups inform our decisions about who we listen to and what we do.
Most people consciously or unconsciously group their community in an outward fashion. If you ask, they can see how the community becomes part of what they do. Who are the people in your community groups?
- Chris will always have people who are like him, those who aspire to be like them, and those who can’t or won’t ever do the work to get where he is or is going to..
- Cult leaders see their community as those who spread the message, those who follow the message, those ready to be converted.
- Builders see their community as those who provide resources and funding, those use the tools, and those who buy and use what they build.
- Financial analysts see their community in three groups: those who can count and those who can’t. (and the rare group who notices that was only two.)
That sort of grouping naturally occurs in any community group.
It takes more — 5 particular types of people — to turn that community into a focused influence network.
5 People Who Can Turn Your Community into a Powerful Influence Network
Strategy looks at building something with thought and opportunity to strengthen the network and build a well-rounded group. Rather than looking who shows up in an outward fashion. Strategy builds with a plan of action. Strategy chooses five types of people who can provide infrastructure and stability that power the network with information and communication when we want our networks to help that cause, make that something happen, or move that idea across the internet.
Look at successful leaders — people you think of as influencers and people who enjoy repeat success. They’ve gone past community to developed information channels. They have skills at collecting and managing their contacts. They also include five kinds of people in their networks to keep the systems working fluidly and with balance. Can you spot these five in the successful communities you know?
- Leaders – Leaders exemplify the vision and clearly articulate the mission. In a company or community, they live the brand. Leaders know where we’re going and what to do when the unforeseen appears. Leaders are masters at integrating information into a whole picture and communicating how nuance of a small change might or might not affect an overall plan.
- Scouts and Guides – Scouts know the terrain that must be covered. They keep an eye on the competitive ground. They understand and translate new territories. They know where the shortest paths can be found. They see the possible opportunities, pitfalls, and possibilities for ambush.
- Sleuths and Spotters – Sleuths are fascinated by changes that dicrupt and catch fire. They stay close to the competitive edge, monitoring what is becoming popular. They’re first to know that a new tool is gaining traction and the first to try it. More than early-adopters they gather the global intelligence of the group to report on the fever behind the trend.
- Insighters – Insighters are the perceptive and well-connected people who can give you the inside scoop and insight into how an influencer or decision-maker might view a situation. Their skills are particularly useful when someone’s decision or response to your actions might affect you in significant ways.
- System Pros – Systems pros know every detail of a particular system and every role that make it work. They ensure fluid, efficient operation and tend to potential breaks before they occur. Systems pros are driven to tweak the system to constantly and consistently meet and exceed the goals of the network to reach out in connection and communication and gather information to improve performance overall.
It takes a focused team to manage the firehouse flow of information that comes at us from every direction. It takes that same kind of focus to deliver on a promise of service that will scale beyond the one Chris Brogan or even that brand team that might want to be everywhere doing everything in the best way we know. The people who celebrated this guy we all admire and love came in many types and play many roles in the community that is Team Brogan. We’d all be wise to find a few of those types to support us too.
If you look in your community, I bet you’ll find that you’ve got a few of them already there. How will you introduce yourself and invite them into your brand?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!