At the core of leadership, network weaving and change agency is the art of connecting. In the growth of any living system, the quality of relationships is as important as the quality of individuals. An organization or community or education system that focuses more on the dots than connections between the dots will squander resources in an unsustainable strategy. This conversation about building quality connections begins unsurprisingly with describing the character of quality connections.
One way to think of quality connections is to consider the frequency, mutuality and impact of reaching out and reaching in that occurs between and among people in a network.
First, reaching out and reaching in.
Reaching out is being interested in our well-being that leads to asking others for ideas, help, resources, introductions and influence. Reaching in is being interested in the well-being of others that leads to offering ideas, help, resources, introductions and influence.
Frequency is how often reaching out and in occur. Mutuality is how much reaching out and in is equally initiated. Impact is how reaching out and in affect each person's effectiveness.
In network mapping, we can measure all three dynamics across both dimensions of reaching in and out. We can measure exactly how and where connections are growing by doing simple surveys asking people about the impacts of their most frequent connections of reaching in and out.
This allows us to be strategic and intentional about building the kinds of connections where we most need them to achieve what everyone's trying to achieve. Networks of people will always move at the strength of their connections.