In our book Work The Pond! we talk about a counter-intuitive concept called The Strength of Weak Ties. It is an important concept to consider because we live in a world where a big focus is put on centers of influence, the COIs. The thought is, “If I just build a core network of influential people with whom I develop really strong relationships, they will help me find success.”
THE STRENGTH OF WEAK TIES
It turns out that our weak contacts, even distant acquaintances, are often more powerful forces in our network than close connections. In May 1973 Mark Granovetter published “The Strength of Weak Ties”. It is one of the most highly cited papers in sociology (23,000 citations). In his now 40-year old three-page paper, one of Granovetter’s findings was that more than eighty percent of the time, when people looked for jobs through networking, they found them through weak connections, acquaintances rather than close friends.
Why would that be? It’s because your close circle probably knows the same people you do. Opportunities present themselves when you start building diverse networks, linking up with people beyond your close circle.
-Darcy Rezac, Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, authors, Work The Pond!
Watch this animation from Dalton Conley (Norton Sociology) to understand more about weak links. Dalton talks about the power of weak links for work and for life in this short animation.
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