7. Hubs, Bridging and Networking

Are you a “Hub, bridge or networker?” A hub is someone who everyone talks to, a bridge is a person that connects to two or more groups that don’t normally interact with each other and a networker is someone who really works a room. They chat with everyone, know a bit about each person they talk to and often recommend person A speak with person Q (for mutual benefit).

Hubs can be easily seen through social network analysis:

The larger spots represent hubs in the network, the bigger the spot, the more connections it has.

Bridgers are harder to spot. I remember on one project I did, I had an IT person in the room and an HR person in the room, and they were both speaking understandable English, yet each was frustrated because the messages were not getting across to the other person. Their contexts were so far apart that I, understanding the context for each, had to step in as a kind of translator to get the meaning across. In this case, I was the bridge between IT and HR.

Everyone knows someone that they can point to as a networker. Many of my mentors are amazing at keeping track of who is who and who needs what. They are always looking for opportunities for themselves and others.

8. Mentoring and Coaching

I coach people all the time, executive coaching, and also coaching for collaboration start-ups through my Mentor program. I see the role of coach as helping to guide someone through a process to a goal. Mentoring is a bit different. It is the wiliness to share your knowledge and experience with someone who requests it. It is also a way to foster someone to help them achieve more. These are critical skills in a collaborative environment.

9. Open to New Ideas

We have all dealt with NIH (not invented here), or “don’t fix it if there is no problem.” Both of these sayings show rigidity in thinking and often a closed mind. These are not the people you want to brainstorm new ideas with, but they are usually the ones who say “this is the process, it is the way we do it, and will continue to do it.” Flexibility in thought is critical for collaboration. Processes are great, but people are messy! One of my favorite sayings is “Man plans, and God laughs.” Things never turn out the way you expect and you need to be flexible enough in your thinking to adapt to any changes that come your way.

10. Tools and Technology

Although tools and technology usually only form about 20% of the solution (with people and process comprising the other 80%), they can often be the critical enabler for interactions, communication and understanding the other person’s context (meaning). Understand what type of tool is the correct medium for a type of communication.

CI As a Metric

Everyone is into metrics these days, especially social metrics. The goal of CI is to provide these 10 scales to measure the social/collaborative mindset. CI can be a great predictor of where relationship problems might occur, who would be the best to lead a high performance team, or which people have the most influence on the most different groups.

Editor's Note: You can read more of David Coleman's articles, including: