I have several networks. Networks of people. Disconnected from each other.
Each of them brings me value and joy in different ways, and my approach to staying connected with them is not uniform.
I have a family network with a dense core consisting of my wife and kids. We call each other on Sundays and follow each other’s lives on Facebook. I have a friendship network with a dense core of about 7-8 people that I have known since I was about 20. We meet once or twice per year and that is it. Sometimes spiced up with a few phone calls or a dinner. I have an MBA alumni network, where I have coffee with a few individuals 1-2 times per year. I am also part of an alumni sub-chapter, where we meet virtually once per month. It is not the same people I have coffee with. Then I have my neighborhood network, which I say ‘hi’ to daily, and where we help each other out if needed. I have a hobby network… in all honesty, it is not my hobby that is in focus anymore, but the hobby of my kids, which luckily correlate with something I like as well. We meet physically 1-3 times per week.
I also have work networks.
I have client networks. People I have worked with over the years. Many I don’t consider clients, but more like work friends. People I have been cracking jokes with learned and developed with, and in general, followed over the years. I help them, and they help me to succeed in our separate work lives. Some will say we look after each other, or we care.
I have a network of people I work with to get the daily job done. I call it the transactional network since the interaction has a clear input and output and is often defined by structures, processes, and procedures. I exchange daily digital messages with them. E-mails, chat messages, video meetings, etc. When I want fast responses I call them, or if I am in the office I ask.
Lastly, I have a transformational network. The people I reach out to when I need to stretch my own thinking when I need to get re-energized when I need to make sense of something, or I need help with solving a complex problem. These people have been pointed to by the ‘word-of-mouth’, the ‘wisdom-of-the-crowd’, or where we have a shared past that has created knowledge of each other’s competencies, trust, and sympathy. These people I always meet face-to-face or call. The frequency of contact is weekly to monthly. Sometimes yearly.
We all know the networks I have mentioned above, so where is the confusion around them?
The confusion arrives, when we talk about analyzing networks, which is the field Innovisor specializes in. Some people (and technology companies) think networks can be analyzed through our digital footprints.
It would require a big digital footprint in the communication between people, which in most cases does not exist. If it does, it would be like searching for a needle in the haystack.
There is only one network that in some cases might be analyzed through our digital footprints and that is the transactional network.