Thursday, April 12, 2012

Introduce a Connect-the-Dots Strategy to Your Job

Most coloring books come with connect-the-dots pages.

You know, pages with seemingly random numbers and dots spread out all over the paper. To make sense of, and discover the hidden image on these pages, you have to put your pencil down on the dot by the number one and draw a line to number two, then number three, and so forth. After connecting all of the dots in sequence, you end up with an image of a car, or a rabbit or a flower.

The newly discovered end product is a complete contrast to the initial smattering of dots first experienced. One dot, by itself, didn't represent anything. All of the dots by themselves still didn’t represent anything. It’s not until all the dots are connected that you actually see a finished product. The answer you were seeking was always on the page, it just took you to connect the pieces to see it.

               You are one dot. *
                                           * * * * * * There are millions of other dots.

The game we play in our professional life is similar: to connect to the right dots so that we can support each other with questions and issues we have with any of our current projects.

You need to connect socially.

Find and connect to other relevant groups -- sometimes into great adventures, sometimes into great tragedies and sometimes into serendipitous discovery. And then connect back with the rest of us and share your knowledge.


Connecting is not always advantageous or productive. Especially in a virtual world where everybody, everywhere is off doing their own thing, paying little or no attention to what everyone else is doing. Less interaction, less sharing, less synergy, less world changing stuff going on.

Most of us use the social media connections not to go to anywhere important – the new idea, the new solution, the important discussion, the critical synergy. Nope, we use it to wander around, often in circles. Sure, we chat a lot, especially with the person who just popped up next to us. But we don’t talk about much of substance. After all, typical social network connections seem to be something we only grab on to when we’re done with work, with the important stuff, the thinking and solving stuff. We rarely seem to use it to improve our expertise and skills -- let alone share our knowledge with others. It’s mostly used just for hanging out.

What if we re-introduced a connect the dots approach into the important work of business – finding ideas, locating thinkers, connecting to others, problem creation and problem solving. What if we spent more time connecting dots at work and less time as a solitary dot struggling to find our way through something all alone in our cubicle?

Try this: Want to see who's connected to you and who you're connected to? If you're on LinkedIn, go to this site for a great graphical map of your connections. Or
go to this site and type in your blog address or social network URL for a list.

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