The Connector's Journey
Navigating the human connectivity process
by Peter Mandeno
Positive human connectivity objectives are achieved when a person successfully navigates the human connectivity process. This process is referred to as ‘The Connector’s Journey’ and takes the perspective of the person seeking to connect (the Connector). The target of the Connector’s effort is referred to as the Contact.
The Connector’s Journey is composed of five phases with each phase characterised by a distinct activity or set of activities and a target objective. The five phases of the Connector’s Journey are Finding, Forming, Maintaining, Leveraging and Disconnecting.
Finding refers to the Connector becoming aware of a (potentially) relevant Contact. Connector’s may adopt different tactics for finding others to connect to. How Contacts are found can influence the remainder of the process. For example, when a Contact is found through the introduction of a mutual friend, trust building (and therefore the connectivity process itself) is generally accelerated.
(trans) Forming refers to the development of a connection to the extent that it is sufficiently strong for value to be derived from the Contact. The way and pace at which connections form will be influenced by factors such as proximity of individuals, frequency of contact and the origins of the connection. The prefix (trans) indicates that some already formed connections experience a process of transformation. For example, colleagues becoming friends.
Maintaining refers to keeping a formed connection sufficiently intact over time. This is particularly relevant in cases where the value inherent in a formed connection is not immediately derived and so the connection must be kept intact until it may be derived. In some cases, value is derived repeatedly from the same connection and so the connection must be kept intact between such moments. The level of maintenance required will depend on the type of connection and how well formed it is.
Leveraging refers to the derivation of value from the Contact. The nature of value derivation ranges from explicit and transactional (e.g., one person providing the solution to another person’s problem) or more subtle and socio-emotional (e.g., a Connector deriving a sense of support from a close friend). The less familiar people are with each other (e.g., in diverse teams where value is not immediately obvious), the more support they may require in successfully leveraging connections.
Disconnecting refers to the discontinuation of a connection between two people. Disconnection may occur abruptly (e.g., when there is a breach of trust) or people may simply choose not to maintain a connection and drift apart over time. The Connector may initiate disconnection or be the recipient of the Contact disconnecting from them.