What's the net-worth of your net-work?
I recently asked a friend to review a post I had written for my blog, that I intended to share on my LinkedIn account. One of the main points that they reminded me of was, that I needed to make sure that I "gave" something for people to take away, like a list of helpful things…
Absolutely I thought, I’ll write up a bullet-point list of 10 characteristics of a great leader, or the 6 critical steps to emotional intelligence and post that to accompany my article.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm always eager to read the latest list, and to learn everything there is to know about leading and coaching people (I love learning!). But to be honest, if you want to be a better leader/person, and if you're curious by nature like me, you would already have googled "what are the most successful characteristics of a great leader" or whatever the subject you want more information about, many times over. We have access to infinite amounts of information and data at our fingertips, just by entering key search criteria - and as if by magic….it appears, so many different versions of searched information. It's absolutely incredible.
So, this got me thinking…. What is so special about the lists, articles or data, shared in LinkedIn posts and articles? Why do I feel they are often much more useful to me, than merely just using a search engine?
The critical element is, that the information being shared on LinkedIn, isn’t just a random piece of data that you had “googled”, it’s that it is being shared by people in our own personal LinkedIn network - a network that you created, whether intentionally (hopefully) or otherwise. It’s like a validation that the lists, thoughts and ideas may have already been implemented in similar situations/environments to yours, and as such have more chance of success. You can leverage from others' experiences, lessons learned and insight.
The people in your network have either invited you to connect, or you have invited them to connect with you. Individuals in similar careers, with similar jobs to yours, or roles that you aspire to be in, or were in previously, colleagues from other companies, people from companies that interest you, or whose ideas or values are aligned with yours, people who have similar personal hobbies/interests, those you can learn from and those you can support. If you are like me, you may have developed several areas of focus within your personal network, which intersect and overlap.
Your personal LinkedIn network is a community designed by you. One which provides the sharing of information, encouragement, inspiration, the lessons learned from those who have personally put into practice (and learned by our mistakes :o), many of the theoretical ideas used in successful leadership, coaching, business or any other area you are interested in. There is no limitation to the geographical reach of your network, which is awesome...you can create your own global community.
Next time you receive an invite, look to see if the person fits within your interests or aspirations, that inspires you or that they are the type of person that you could learn from or that you may be able to help. As for sending connection invites, do the same, have a criteria that works for you - don't just blast out invites for the sake of adding another number to your connection list.
If you thoughtfully and intentionally build your LinkedIn network, you will have a phenomenal community entirely designed by you. A community of ideas and innovation, learning, feedback, support and inspiration… with you at the center, both giving and receiving invaluable information and camaraderie.
Just to put your words out on LinkedIn under your name, for all your world to see, takes courage. Whether it’s your latest list, idea, opinion or blog, I for one am deeply appreciative of those of you who do. As long as I think there may be value to someone in my community in a post I write, even if that is only one person, for me that’s awesome… and I’ll continue to post.
Are you creating your own personal community on LinkedIn?
How can you increase your network net worth?