Monday, May 16, 2011

Old Friends: 'the Holy Grail' of Networking

By Kyle Stock

When it comes to one's career, old friends may be better than new ones.

At least that's the claim of new research that says dormant contacts could be "the holy grail of networking strategy." Former colleagues and long-lost peers are even more helpful than those one speaks to regularly, according to the report: "Dormant Ties: The Value of Reconnecting," which will be published in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Organization Science.

The report's authors -- Daniel Levin (Rutgers University), Jorge Walter (George Washington University) and Keith Murnighan (Northwestern University) -- rounded up 224 executive MBA students and asked them to solicit work advice from two people they had not communicated with for at least three years. One of the contacts had to have been a close friend, while the other was required to have been a "weak tie."
At the same time, participants completed a survey about advice they had already harvested from 15 people with whom they spoke regularly.

Turns out, the dormant colleagues provided more novel insight more efficiently than the contemporaries. Even the long-lost contacts that participants were never close with proved more valuable than many people the subjects talked to often.

"I thought the dormant relationships would be helpful, but I didn't think they would be this helpful," said Daniel Levin, the researcher from Rutgers. "Basically, you get a lot of bang for the buck by reconnecting."
The dormant ties were trusted sources and they were less likely to provide redundant information and insight, Levin noted.

Read the rest of the article

No comments:

Post a Comment