Malcolm Gladwell is a well known writer who contributes to The New Yorker and has written a number of bestsellers like Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers and David and Goliath. Gladwell often has a lot to say about what it takes to succeed in our current world.
Before Networking Was Social
Sometimes, the reasons why certain things succeed and others do not can seem mysterious. Take the explosion of social media on our society today. For many of us, it is now commonplace to wake up in the morning (or in the middle of the night) and check Twitter on our smart phones, LinkedIn on our tablets, or pull up Facebook on our laptops. We surf YouTube or Vimeo videos in our spare time, find dates on Match.com and spend hours reading about music, politics, health and all aspects of life on blogs all over the web.
What can be described as "the new normal" today was born out of years of missteps and failed attempts from other less popular websites that could only dream of realizing Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn level success. While you may recognize some of these names, will anyone raise their hand and admit to still (or ever) using Friendster, GeoCities, HotOrNot, Classmates.com, Second Life or MySpace?
Connectors and Mavens
So why did some of these sites succeed where many others failed? Gladwell explains that there are people in society who connect well with others. They have a lot of friends and they’re good at spreading the word about something. He calls them “connectors.” Then, there are also “mavens” i.e., the people that everyone turns to when they want to know if something is any good. If these connectors and mavens get a hold of your product, they can help make it popular again.In recent years, companies such as Polaroid and MySpace have enlisted the likes of "A List Mavens" Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake to test out the above theory, but only time will tell if their involvement breeds life back into these once popular brands.
Using Connectors and Mavens to Aid in Staffing
You might wonder what this has to do with staffing at a certain company? Have you ever noticed how sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to fill a certain position while others have more people applying for them than you might ever have expected? This might be because you’ve been looking in the wrong places. You might need to get in touch with “connectors” who can bring people into your organization or “mavens” who can advise you about the best people to hire. For those of you who already work in HR or Staffing, it’s quite possible that you are a “connector” or “maven” yourself.
Identifying Connectors and Mavens
If you look on LinkedIn, it’s easy to identify connectors because of how large their networks are and how often they keep adding new people. In addition to growing their own networks, these same individuals typically genuinely enjoy serving as a "connector" between others in their network. Sometimes, these individuals may not even know that they’re connectors; they just think that everyone’s like them!
Mavens are also quite easy to spot because their desk is usually a hub for the office. People always seem to be dropping by to ask a maven’s opinion about something, whether it’s their opinion of the new company logo or if they should hire a new employee.
Whoever the connectors or mavens are in your life, be sure to seek them out. Their lead just might be worth following.
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