Erica Dhawan is the co-author of the new book “Get Big Things Done – The Power of Connectional Intelligence” so, of course, with a title like that I was keen to know more.
So what is connectional intelligence? Erica describes it as –
“The ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale, that create unprecedented value and meaning”
In this conversation we share stories and examples of how connection and community have evolved and developed over time. How our current connected world is not just the evolution of technology, but also the ability to combine new ideas to create breakthroughs.
Erica Dhawan and her co-author Saj-Nicole Joni followed the stories of real people who are connecting and making a difference. These people made a difference not just by the amount or quantity of connections they have. They made a difference through the quality of connections they. By making the smart connections and getting the right people together. Erica points out that it is not just building a network that leads to measurable change, it is how you use your network.
Erica talks about the power of combining big ideas, and how the scale, depth and breadth of our ability to combine our resources, our knowledge and our ideas, has changed.
“Combination at it’s roots is the DNA of innovation”
Personally, I found this whole conversation fascinating, and enjoyed it as Erica shared the stories that were researched for this book. Erica explained how the ability to connect can impact areas such medical research. How the Ice Bucket challenge started off at the dinner table with a team of 5. How the Nike Green Exchange platform is leading to innovation in environmental sustainable use in various industries through the power of sharing. And even the story of connection between herself and her co-author.
Erica Dhawan shares her own story. How it started by getting a good education and a Wall street Job before the impact of the recession, confusion and burnout. It was at this point that the she started her research into how to bring meaning to her work (at the same time that many others were starting to do the same thing). After meeting Saj-Nicole Joni, a successful business strategist, they asked each other how they could leverage their connection across generations to “get big things done”. The idea for the book was born and the connection was made.
During my conversation with Erica, we talk about whether connectional intelligence is teachable and how best to develop this ability (the answer is yes and Erica shares some tips). We also discuss the hurdles and preconceived ideas that people have when they hear the phrase ‘connectional intelligence’, including the perception and meaning of the word connection, and how it has changed and evolved through time.
Erica and I talk about building on the work of Malcolm Gladwell, and his book Tipping Point, in which he describes the various types of characters (Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen) and how within connectional intelligence it has become –
Thinkers – the ideas people
Enablers – the community builders
Executors – the people who mobilise the resource to get things done.
Do you know which one you are?
I asked Erica, what can we do now if we want to start working on our connectional intelligence and it came down to 3 simple things –
1) Be intentional about opening your self up to new people and new ideas
2) Make connections around things that you feel very passionate about and things that you really value
3) Leverage what you already know. Establish how others can immediately benefit from what you know now.
If you want to know more about Erica Dhawan, get a copy of the book or learn more about connectional intelligence, then visit the websites getbigthingsdone.com, ericdhawan.com or connect with Eric via twitter @edhawan.
Erica has also offered a free gift to all that would like to find out more about connectional intelligence and developing it within your teams. Just head over to ericadhawan.com/managerguide and check it out.
Of course if you have enjoyed this conversation with Erica Dhawan then make sure you share it with anyone you think may benefit from it, and start to build your community around a great idea, creating the change and making the difference to “get big things done”.
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“Creating Connections that Count”