Last month, I was fortunate to be asked to participate in a 2-day client symposium for law firm CMOs and Managing Partners put together by my brilliant friends at The Wicker Park Group [wickerparkgroup.com]. Nat and Laura curated a highly interactive and engaged group of professionals to discuss innovative law firm marketing initiatives, cutting-edge client service and focused business development strategies- all with an underlying focus on what’s game-changing now.
To discuss what’s game-changing, you need to know something about the traits of game-changers. The fabulous Sara Robinson started the conversation with her list of 5 traits of game changers (watch Sara’s video presentation to the group: [escaping-mediocrity.com]).
In my role as President of 85 Broads, I was asked to speak on networks. I think about networking all the time as well as membership engagement, interaction and communications, however, it was good to spend some time reflecting on the question: What’s game-changing now about professional networks?
My Answer – which is #15 on the list assembled at the WPG Client Symposium – Connecting.
Connecting people in a professional network, connecting information, providing access and generating ideas and passing those connections along, and in the process strengthening your network through easy connectivity and generous connections.
Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter – these social networks help find and build “connections” of friends, professional contacts and followers. But being online, electronically accessible, with lots of friends, followers and connections is not necessarily “game changing”. And doesn’t necessarily lead to strong connections.
The human connections are what count. Adding value to those human connections counts even more.
“Bridge the gap” in creating connections between the people, information and ideas in your network, start tapping into and activating your network, so that it is more than a number count of friends, contacts and followers.
A study by Professor Steven Casper at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) on the failure of LA to develop a biotech cluster illustrates the importance of connections. Casper concluded after an 18-month study that what’s missing in LA is “a rich social network connecting scientists, entrepreneurs, managers and venture capitalists who are in the business of starting companies”. All the pieces are in place but without the connections….there is no marketplace for ideas, no interactions, no industry growth.
Cisco’s approach to developing global leaders focuses on those who can make connections across the corporation which do not rely on hierarchy and traditional titles. Cisco is “tapping innovative collaboration tools and social networks to speed up productivity and decision-making”. Individuals who can activate and tap into information networks, who focus on collaboration and teamwork are the future leaders. Future leaders make connections and use them.
So what’s game changing? Not simply having a network, but being someone who connects to and with their network.
Here are some suggestions on how to start thinking like and connecting like a connector:
• Regularly connect. Build varied relationships.
• Listen and find out what other people are interested in. Keep others’ interests in mind while meeting people.
• Anticipate – seek new ways to connect individuals and groups.
• Provide critical information, expertise or connections to get closer to that critical information, expertise.
• Share your influence, even if you have only a little.
• Share a resource. Be a source of information about issues and opportunities. Point out an opportunity.
• Cultivate a willingness to continue making relationships, passing on information, and introducing people to one another
Learn to give. Remember to share. Teach yourself to be a connector.
Interested in the other traits of Game Changers? Here is the list of traits the symposium attendees came up with:
visionary-work at it
follow gut instincts
comfortable talking about the uncomfortable
stake a claim/commit
trusting and encouraging
do what they say they will do
Anything you’d add to the list?
Connector. Advisor. Project Solver.
Kelly is also the President of 85 Broads, LLC, where she is focused on strategic partnerships and “conventional” as well as innovative ways to connect and promote the achievements of members of this global network. Kelly is the 2010 leader of the New York Chapter of 85 Broads.
Prior to joining 85 Broads in October 2009, Kelly was Manager of Alumni Programmes at White & Case LLP. In this global role, Kelly was responsible for designing and implementing the firm’s alumni relations outreach and engagement strategy (including the firm’s strategy for use of online networking tools such as Facebook, Linkedin, LegalOnRamp). From 2004 to 2008, Kelly was the Manager of Professional, Americas at White & Case, overseeing and initiating a number of talent development initiatives for the firm, ranging from new/lateral associate integration, upward review and annual performance review process, business and client skills development training, trial advocacy curriculum, Women’s Initiative programming and retreats, and introduction of coaching and coaching-based programming.
Before entering law firm management, Kelly was a corporate attorney focusing on structured finance, banking and insolvency law. She is an alum of Sidley, Osler Hoskin and Miller Thomson. Kelly is a graduate of The University of British Columbia Law School, articled in Ontario, Canada and is admitted to the New York State Bar as well as to The Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia.
Kelly is vice-chair of the Board of inMotion (inmotiononline.org) a New York City based not-for-profit which provides legal assistance to women and children in domestic crisis. She is also a member of the Honorary Advisory Board for Pace Law School’s New Direction Program and on the Advisory Board for WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum).
Connect with Kelly via Twitter (@jkhoey) or Linkedin ([linkedin.com]).