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The Responsibility and Value of Connectors

I’ve come to realize that what most people call thought leader is just the byproduct of being a connector.  Almost every RFP I’ve seen in the last year has had some wording about wanting to be a thought leader. Being a thought leader today requires more than being smart. Being smart is kind of a commodity these days.

Real thought leadership comes from not just being smart but having the ability to connect smart and talented people with the right people. The ability to find the right answers is infinitely more important than always having the right answers.

Where most companies fall down in thought leadership is that they don’t leverage their ability to be connectors, and all successful businesses really are just successful connectors. Instead they spend too much time talking about themselves. This is the problem with almost all “big win” PR announcements. They focus on themselves and not their customers.

In my experience there are only two ways for connectors to gain value from being a connector (beyond the intrinsic satisfaction they get): externally among their peers or internally among their connections.

Translation: You can either be the guy at the party who’s obviously name dropping or you can be the guy at the party that everyone wants to talk to, but you can’t be both.

This shouldn’t be a new concept to anyone in PR as this is the cornerstone of the industry.

Yet too often we see marketers and PR people who spend more time marketing themselves then they do their clients. This is working very well for some high-level bloggers, “industry experts” and the agencies that subsequently hire these “thought leaders,” but it only works for a while.

Eventually this will run its course and those who have spent their time exploiting their connections instead of building their connections will end up like the washed-up high-school football star, reliving his glory days.

This blog was originally posted on the Thinkers and Doers blog » The Responsibility and Value of Connectors

Photo credit by Lollyman

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

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  • http://www.jeremymeyers.com/ Jeremy Meyers

    All value everywhere is connecting people to people and things to things. Funny you should post this, as I just saw a Steve Jobs quote about this exact topic… http://lebowitz.net/creativity-is-just-connecti…

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