October 5, 2009

How do you keep in touch with 500+ contacts?

October 5, 2009 - Categories: connecting

“How do you keep in touch with 500+ contacts?” asked Khalid, whom I met while I was active in Toastmasters. We were connected on LinkedIn, where I’d accumulated a number of contacts along the way.

I don’t. Remember that bit about being a shy connector? I’m still working on becoming more comfortable with pinging people out of the blue.

In general, I make it easy for people to keep up to date with me through my blog and FB updates, so I’m not limited by my courage in reaching out to people. I also look for excuses to exercise my network. I take notes, too.

Don’t worry about the numbers. Focus on creating value and helping others.

Finding the sweet spot

October 5, 2009 - Categories: career

Dave Pollard shared this excellent diagram for finding the sweet spot for what you want to do in life. He lists these nine career types:

  1. Explorers, whose work is study and research, and whose work-product is discovery and insight
  2. Interpreters, whose work is mentoring and facilitation, and whose work-product is understanding
  3. Inventors, whose work is imagining, and whose work-product is ideas
  4. Designers, whose work is crafting, and whose work-product is models
  5. Generators, whose work is creating and building, and whose work-product is ‘goods’ and services
  6. Nurturers, whose work is cultivating, and whose work-product is well-being
  7. Menders, whose work is sustaining, and whose work-product is regeneration
  8. Actors, whose work is re-creating, and whose work-product is fun
  9. Connectors, whose work is distributing, and whose work-product is cross-pollination

– Dave Pollard

This made me think about who I am and what I enjoy doing. A large part of my work is interpreting – helping people learn more about emerging tools and technologies. As an IT specialist and application developer, I’m also a generator. I love building systems. And I can’t help but be a connector both inside and outside the organization, spreading ideas, resources, and connections.

Some thoughts:

  • The Generator role is the easiest to scale. I can build systems and get measurable results. Progress is easy to see. 
  • The Interpreter role is also fulfilling. It takes more time, though, because I like working with complex ideas that people can’t teach themselves. I may be able to scale this up by creating material and training others. 
  • The Connector role is fun, but mostly ad-hoc for now. It’s hard to plan serendipity. ;) 

So right now, I’m in a great spot. I get to switch between Generator and Interpreter (and sometimes I combine the two in a single engagement). Because I’m in a large organization with great social computing tools, I can connect people too.

Hmm… How do I grow from here?

  • Generator – develop deeper technical skills, practice building small systems
  • Interpreter – learn more about organizing information and creating learning material
  • Connector – continue to collect ideas, tools, resources, and links to people… =)

How about you? Where’s your sweet spot?