engaging the trustworthy

In my post on spreading social capitalism I concluded that Mavens (experts) exhibit the greatest intellectual capital, Connectors have the most diverse (creative) networks, and Salespeople get things done (action).

I recently came across a post on The Trusted Advisor that adds another twist to how we connect to each other. On the info-graphic (below) How trustworthy are you? Charles Green shows that Experts (Mavens) are not as trusted, in comparison to several other roles in a network. They lack the intimacy skills of Doers, Connectors and Catalysts (Salespeople).

This makes sense on face value, given that many experts are very deep into their field and less interested in the general public. Consider that people who popularize research — like Malcolm Gladwell who writes in a less academic style — are often much more successful than those whose research their books are based on.

This had me wondering how we can effectively spread ideas in networks. It seems that Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople are not enough. Mavens need champions, like Connectors, but Salespeople also need to find and connect to Doers. These are worth considering when looking at something like social business initiatives. We know that the main advantage of using social media is increasing speed of access to knowledge. We also know that very little of the knowledge we use on the job is stored in our heads, so there is a clear, logical reason for being more transparent and connected in our work. However, we also know that changing practices and developing a new sharing culture takes a lot of time and effort. Finding and engaging trustworthy people in the network may be a good place to start. The critical role may be the Doer (Reliability + Intimacy) — the most trusted of all.

trusted network roles

4 Responses to “engaging the trustworthy”

  1. David Bennett

    Great diagrams Harold, I hadn’t seen these terms before you started talking about them (as with many other things).

    It is a bit of a bitter pill (with my experience at least) to think that salespeople are the critical role.
    It led me to start questioning this and I started seeing the network as symbiotic with all having equally important albeit different parts to play.

    Now maybe I’m just saying this because I’m not a natural catalyst – I have to work at it – but I think that if you define one roll as more critical in a network you may have taken the first step back to a hierarchy.

    Is network the antithesis of hierarchy? Maybe not, but the idea of a network where all are equal but one is more equal than others is all very Animal Farm.

    • Harold Jarche

      In a network, not all are equal, but there is no defined hierarchy either. In terms of roles, I find them handy in developing strategies to promote professional networks, especially inside an organization. My clients ask, how do we start, so I find an examination of roles and an identification of potential early adopters quite useful.

  2. tony joyce

    It sounds like the type of trust you are looking for here is ‘referential trust.’ Someone can be trustworthy by reputation alone; this is a trust carried through the intellectual capital network that is shown. Most people though do not rely on the formal network, the published bibliography, or the service or search engine that the IC network creates. We put more faith into the opinion of friends, and perhaps even casual acquaintenances, than we do in the formal sources.

    This is carried in an informal social network. One that is different from three networks of Capital that you show. I’m not sure whether the barriers between the formal and informal networks are due to healthy skepticism or bitter experience. I am sure that the barriers exist and may well offer protection against the dominance of any one type of Capital.


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