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March 13, 2006
High-Performance Social Networking - Part II: The Natural Life-Cycle of a Personal Network
In Part I of High-Performance Social Networking, we looked at the eight basic networking styles in terms of their basic orientation towards their respective PANs, CANs, and FANs.
In Part II, we examine the natural life-cycle of a personal social network:How a personal network changes over time -- over the life of the individual or over the life of the network -- in terms of the both the relative composition of PAN, CAN, and FAN components and how they interact with each other.
The Natural Life-Cycle of a Personal Social Network
Phase I -- The Adolescent Stage of a Personal Social Network
New school, new job, new home, new hobby, or just growing up -- all involve starting and growing a new social network. This is "The Adolescence Stage".
In the adolescent phase, one's CAN is wide-open to one's PAN. One's primary focus tends to be on building new relationships in one's CAN from one's FAN and learning to manage relationships in one's CAN. One's FAN is just too small and immature to draw from much and thus tends to be completely neglected.
Therefore,In the Adolescent Stage --"PAN to CAN" flow rate is HIGH
"CAN to FAN" flow rate is HIGH
But,"FAN to CAN" flow rate is VERY LOW
This means that in your "early life," your PAN is your primary source for your CAN. CANs tend to be very cliquish in the Adolescent stage -- which represents a resistance to leveraging one's PAN optimally. FANs are so small and poorly developed that there is a tendency to "exile" individuals to one's FAN more as punishment than "saving for a rainy day". An adolescent FAN is a Gulag -- once relegated to a FAN, one is rarely heard from again.
The Adolescent Stage behaves a lot like The FUGITIVE ( + | + | - ) Networking Style --
"Run Towards the Future and Away From The Past"
Phase II -- The Growth Stage of a Personal Social Network
As one settles in to one's social network(s), new communities, or growing a professional network, one enters the network "Growth Stage."
In the Growth Stage, one's FAN has grown and matured enough to become a significant source of relationships for one's CAN. Reconnecting with one's FAN becomes a significant source of incremental advantage moving forward.
PANs continue to provide new blood for one's CAN and the size of one's FAN continues to grow significantly from CAN overflow as both PAN and FAN members continue to flow into one's CAN. (Remember: CANs can not grow beyond 150 to 200 at any point in time WITHOUT suffering significant deterioration in relationship value.)
No longer is one's FAN a Gulag. People who are "well-connected" are really just people who maintain fluid connectivity to their FANs, which, by their nature, tend to grow over time and can become huge.
Therefore,In the Growth Stage --"PAN to CAN" flow rate remains HIGH
But the "FAN to CAN" flow rate grows to become HIGH
As a result,"CAN to FAN" flow rate becomes VERY HIGH
This means that in your "mid-life," your FAN becomes an important source of value along with your PAN. While you need to maintain 'Openness" towards your PAN, you also need to develop skills to facilitate a growing rate of exchange between your CAN and your FAN.
Note:The Growth Stage behaves a lot like The BALANCED ( + | + | + ) Networking Style --"The Future Holds Promise and The Past Holds Allies."
Phase III -- The Senescent Stage of a Personal Social Network
We all get old, we move, we change jobs, etc. A terminal stage awaits any personal social network. Enter: The Senescence Stage
FANs have become HUGE and often become the ONLY source of interpersonal relationships. People tend to shift their focus more to past relationships and re-engaging them than developing new relationships from their PANs. Therefore, PANs tend to be neglected during this terminal phase.
Therefore,In the Senescence Stage --"PAN to CAN" flow rate slows down and can become VERY LOW
Therefore CAN turnover results largely from the rate of exchange between ones FAN and one's CAN, where --"CAN to FAN" flow rate is about equal to "FAN to CAN" flow rate
This means that in your "twilight years," your FAN becomes your PRIMARY source of value - NOT your PAN. Interpersonal skills tend to be highly honed to facilitate the exchange between one's CAN and one's FAN. Typically one is fully engaged with one's various alumni associations, colleagues from earlier in one's career, as well as one's extended family.
Note:The Senescence Stage behaves a lot like The SOLIPSIST ( - | + | + ) Networking Style--"Turn Away From the Future and Back to One's Roots."
Networking styles tend to shift over the life-span of a typical personal network --
Great post! I loved both posts in this series. I need to find a ways to get some of my LinkedInUSAF group members to read your posts. Everyone needs good perspective to remain at the top of their game in networking.
Thanks again for sharing this with all of us in the blogosphere!
Posted by: LinkedInUSAF at March 13, 2006 11:48 PM
Just posted a link on the front page of www.vbiznetwork.com
'hope this helps,
Posted by: JP Hebert at March 14, 2006 11:29 AM
Good Post on Sacred Cow Dung today....the research and your intuitive detective work really paid off....I'm sure you'll be getting some attention on the last two posts when everyone catches up to you on the Bell curve. Well Done and good to set out some structure that leads one to evaluate why the network in the first place.
Posted by: Michael Pokocky at March 16, 2006 01:05 PM
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