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SYNERGY SQUARED January 26, 2009

Posted by Richard Shatto in Business Strategy.
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The past few years a has truth occured to me. This epiphany has changed strategically the way I will provide advice and consultation. It is a paradigm truth I call WHO Squares WHAT.  Simply put, who you know exponentially increases what you know. One person has a defined capacity of knowledge and understanding, but a network of multidisciplinary experts increases exponetially that knowledge capacity. This is not a new concept.

For years Ivy League school collegues have banded together as fraternity’s of friends and business associates to network with one another and share expertise and business acumen. As formal format for business consultation it is less well known, but does exist. The concept can work for anyone in almost any business venture, but for some reason, more than often it does not.

Think about the friends you knew in high school. Now consider how much their 15-18 years of life actually provided as a basis of understanding business or even about life. Some more than others, but certainly a defined amount at that point. Now think about college or university. By the end of this phase of life, your friends will know more, but it is still defined. At this point it is also beginning to fragment into differing disciplines. Each individual and commensurate association is beginning to move into its own unique direction.As our lives and careers continue, they develop more specific forms of skill, knowledge and expertise in a variety of divergent disciplines.

Now fast forward to the present. You are significantly farther along in your own life and career skill set. You have learned a unique, but defined, universe of skills from a specifically defined life of experience and learning. But, so has each one of your historical associates, collegues and friends. Think of the combined body of experiential knowledge and skill represented by the sum of all those acquaintances. It’s astounding! What if there were a way to harness that combined universe of experience and channel it exactly where it is needed, when it is needed, to exactly who (or what) and from whom it is needed.

That’s synergy squared — an Integrated Experience Network that extends your strategic knowledge and skill base exponentially farther than is singularly possible. It’s about bringing to the table world-class expertise for almost anything, anywhere, at anytime.

So, as you get older, don’t think yourself less valuable. The combined knowledge of your exteneded network can make your knowledge channel almost endless. The question is: How do we harness, channel and manage it?

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Comments»

1. thunktank - February 8, 2009

Interesting article. I met an old colleague for lunch last week. We worked together at the same consulting firm 10 years ago. We had kind of lost touch since, and I was surprised when, somewhat out of the blue, he called me to set up the lunch appointment. Turns out he has finally grasped exactly what you are describing in your post and he is trying to reconnect with his personal network after years of thinking, “what’s in the past is in the past.” There is an old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I think the key point is really, “it’s not who you know, but what they know and what the people they know know.”

2. colinbeveridge - February 11, 2009

Richard

You have hit on an interesting topic – the potential of a [social] communications network. I believe that Metcalfe’s Law (roughly translated as the power of a network can be expressed as the square of the nodes) applies to a social network – but only if the members are regularly interacting. Simply having nodes (members) does not necessarily mean that the potential of the network will be fulfilled – the network needs traffic to demonstrate value. In your example of bringing world-class expertise to bear on a problem, by exploiting network connectivity, could only be realised if the network has some form of metadata to describe the expertise associated with each member (node). Still an interesting concept though.


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