There are levels of connectors — some are natural connectors, but not all are social butterflies and almost everyone has some connector tendencies.
Whether or not we are naturally wired with all the connector attributes, the likelihood is that we have a few of them.
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How many you access regularly influences what level of connector you are.
Part I: What Level of connector Are You?
Answer these 10 questions and score your results to learn your current level on the Connector Spectrum. Then move on to Part II to determine if you are at your target level or what your target level should be.
1. I derive personal satisfaction from creating connections or bringing people together.
a) Not much
b) A little
c) Yes, though I hadn’t really thought about it that way
d) Absolutely, I find it very rewarding
2. How important do you believe in building new and nurturing existing connections is to your professional success?
a) Not much
b) A little
c) Pretty important
d) Mission critical
3. I often suggest people that my contact may want to know and initiate making an introduction.
d) All the time
4. When I make a connection, I think about and explain the benefit to both parties.
a) Not usually
b) I think about the reason but don’t usually share it
c) I think about and share the reason for one party but not both
d) I always consider the benefits to both and explain in the introduction
5. Typically when I make introductions …
a) I rarely make introductions
b) I make more in response to a request by someone I know to meet another contact I know
c) I make about the same in response to a request as I do suggesting the two people connect
d) I make more introductions because I initiated the connection for both parties
6. When people ask me to introduce them to someone who may benefit from the intro, I will …
a) Not make the introduction, why should I?
b) Sometimes make the introduction
c) Frequently make the introduction
d) Always make the introduction
7. When people ask me to introduce them to someone who may not benefit from the intro, I will …
a) Not make the introduction, why should I?
b) Not make the introduction, I feel uncomfortable when it is one-sided
c) Make the introduction, if I think the person could benefit and could give that reason
d) Make the introduction, after I ask and receive permission to make the introduction
8. Which is the most common way you meet new people?
a) They find me
b) Someone offers to introduce me
c) I ask friends for warm introductions
d) I search people out and contact them directly
9. When you reach out to a contact – for any introduction, advice, information, or a favor – is the general response to your inquiry …
a) No response, they ignore me
b) They sometimes respond with assistance
c) They often respond with assistance
d) They say, “happy to help, whatever you need”
10. People regularly or occasionally reach out to you (mark all that apply with “R” or “O”)
a) For information
b) For an introduction
c) To ask for a favor
d) To request you speak to a friend
e) To ask for advice
f) To request you or your services on a project
g) To say hello and catch up
h) To invite you to something
For questions 1 – 9, score as follows:
A answers – 1 point
B answers – 2 points
C answers – 3 points
D answers – 4 points
For question 10, give yourself 2 points for every answer you circled that people reach out regularly, and 1 point for each item they reach out for occasionally.
Total up your score and determine your level on the Connector Spectrum below. The read on for your target level.
9–13 points: The Non-Connector.
You are someone who doesn’t see the value in connecting and relationships or is really uncomfortable with the idea. Connecting doesn’t have to be big, ugly, or scary – anyone can do it. If you find yourself in this category, I have a few questions for you.
- Are you being too hard on yourself? Often we don’t give ourselves credit for the things that we do. Would other people put you in this category? All of us connect, though we don’t always associate the relationships we have with “being connected.”
- Do you see the value in connecting? Perhaps this is your norm because you haven’t seen the value in a different approach. Perhaps you are a bit gun-shy—a past relationship didn’t work out or you didn’t receive the response you’d hoped for. With a new approach and a new connection, you may get a different reaction.
- What is one place where or type of person with whom you feel comfortable connecting? You are likely already connecting but don’t recognize it as such; it is just what you do. Whether it is social or professional, start where you are already. Acknowledge what works for you and build from there.
14–23 points: The Emerging Connector.
This is the start of connecting. As an Emerging Connector, you are on the connection path. You may embody some of the behaviors but don’t yet embody all the elements and mindset. Or you may embrace all the mindsets but are not consistently applying them. Consider what area you want to develop; initiating more connections, extending existing relationships, following up, diversifying your connections, etc. Then put a plan in place for just that goal so you are not overwhelmed by all the actions you could take.
24–33 points: The Responsive Connector.
A Responsive Connector is when you are starting to initiate the behaviors but tend to be more responsive to requests, rather than creating value opportunities. This level is open and willing but does not always recognize how and when you can add value and therefore you don’t initiate the connection or offer of assistance. I want to remind you, we all have value to add and sometimes that is simply effort. When meeting a new person, ask yourself, “How can I be of assistance to this person?” Make a suggestion, the offer is the start of being an Acting Connector.
34–43 points: The Acting Connector.
You are consistently applying and initiating more often but you may not have developed the breadth and depth of your network – yet. You consider how to help those in your network with introductions and information. Your network’s breadth and depth are growing. This level is enough for many people and you do not necessarily need to advance beyond to be a Niche or Super Connector. Keep doing what you are doing. Because relationships can fall off, continue to seek new opportunities for connecting.
Over 44 points: Potential Goal Level. Go to Part II
You are a connector! You are doing it and reaping the rewards. People think of you as a resource; someone who knows people and is willing to make connections. When you need something, people are eager to assist. You may already be where you need to be on the Connector Spectrum. There are three more levels. Go to Part II to determine where you are now, and where you want to be.
Part II: What’s Your Target Connector Level
The level of connector you are is not fixed, not an absolute. Being a Super Connector is not necessarily the goal for everyone. The difference between the levels of connector is based on:
- the breadth and depth of your connections
- your tendency to initiate or respond to others
Read the three connector levels and determine where you are now and where you want to be:
Niche Connectors: Niche Connectors have a concentration in a specific area. It could be a geographic region, industry, or job function. The breadth and depth exist but only within the area of their niche.
Super Connectors: The breadth of a Super Connector’s network crosses geographic areas, demographic differences, personal interests, professional industry, job functions, titles, and levels. They seem to know everyone from all walks of life.
Global Super Connectors: Super Connectors have a broad network with geographic depth beyond their country’s borders. Not everyone should strive to this highest level of connector.
You can be a connector. Confidence and trust in yourself will bolster your ability and willingness. Be open to different experiences and broadening your network. Your goal shouldn’t necessarily be to become a Super Connector — determine which level you aspire to. If you’re a Non-Connector, go for Emerging.
If you’re Responsive, work toward Acting. If you want to go global and become a Super Connector, do it!
Ultimately, being a connector is a mindset. It’s not doing something: it’s being someone.
Michelle Tillis Lederman is the CEO of Executive Essentials and author of the new book, The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact. For more information, please visit, www.michelletillerlederman.com and connect with her on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.
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