2023 ISPA CONFERENCE
the illness alone . With the rise of social media , she created a Facebook group to connect with hundreds of other patients and their families around the world . By nurturing this community , Jeannie created a virtual knowledge global network inviting doctors and medical researchers to learn from these rare disease patients how to better manage the illness . Because of the momentum , she mobilized this network to fund the first ever medical research university lab at the University of Pennsylvania to support doctors in understanding and treating the illness . Jeannie is changing lives because she forged connections .
By building a diverse network that supports and encourages this form of connectional intelligence , any group will become more agile at problem solving and innovation .
Pulse : You popularized the concept of connectional intelligence in Get Big Things Done . Is connectional intelligence something anyone can achieve , or does it favor natural motivators and extroverts ? D : Certain people seem to have a natural talent for connecting information , people and ideas to come up with breakthrough ideas and solutions . Aptitude doesn ’ t have to be limited to a special elite . Thanks to our modern world , and with them the widespread accessibility of information , people and resources , we can all develop this talent , or what I call “ connectional intelligence .” In my research , I discovered people who excel at making strong , productive connections develop multiple attributes in common , what is called the “ 5-C ’ s of connectional intelligence ”:
l CURIOSITY : the ability to ask questions from different contexts to gain new perspectives l COMBINATION : the ability to take different ideas , resources or products and combine them to create new ways of thinking l COMMUNITY : the ability to bring people together to create , spark new ideas and develop care and understanding l COURAGE : the ability to venture , persevere and withstand uncertainty , fear or even danger when connecting ideas or initiating difficult conversations
l COMBUSTION : the ability to mobilize and curate diverse networks in pursuit of a goal
Pulse : How does setting aspirational goals for “ big things ” benefit leaders who find themselves focusing on the details of their day-to-day responsibilities ? D : I think setting aspirational goals is a first step to achieving big things .
Ask yourself : What ’ s the big thing I want to get done ? What do powerful connections do for me ? What do I wish my network could do ? Where do I feel like I am not getting enough traction around my goals ?
These are the initial building blocks for beginning to build your connectional intelligence . Then , focus on the connections and people who can help you achieve your strategic goals . Within those meetings , you can uncover shared goals and values through strategic questioning . Finally , you can organize the information you know about your connections and use it to uncover hidden opportunities to bring different people and ideas together to create impact .
In my research , I found three types of connectors in our network we need to build to put our goals into action : the thinkers , the enablers and the connection executors .
l THE THINKERS are the people who connect with others and generate the groundbreaking ideas . Their greatest strength is curiosity . l THE ENABLERS are the people who create the structures , forces and teams used to get big things done . They are more the behind-the-scenes connectors who build communities or rally grass-roots support around a common cause . Their greatest strength is community building . l THE CONNECTION EXECUTORS are the people who mobilize all the people and resources needed to get into action . They thrive when they reach out and connect intelligently with people beyond their particular fields . Their greatest strength is mobilization .
It starts with goals but then quickly moves to mobilizing your network of thinkers , enablers and connection executors that really gets big things done !
Pulse : In your new book Digital Body Language , you address the adjustments required to communicate effectively in emails , on video calls and conference calls , and via IMs
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