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From zodiac signs to network analysis (I) – Strong ties

If you know anything about zodiac signs you will be familiar depending on when you were born you belong to one of 12 zodiac signs. Each represented by a myth, and as well a personality.

Among the signs there are four elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Water. These elements are said to dominate some key traits of each star sign. They can be said to be somewhat grouped by similarities.

Then you have the opposite signs where you cannot be more of the opposite to someone. Taurus is the opposite to Scorpio, and Pisces is the opposite to Virgo. It is said that those of opposite signs are drawn to each other’s energy and learn from each other.

Astrology teaches us something that is way beyond superstition…After reading this series, you will find yourself in a position to create a meaningful business network.

In the world of advocacy, negotiation and business, networking is very important. Many make it a habit to growing a humongous network on social media. Being connected to over thousands of people that you have never met in your life is great for the publicity of the business. But to test if you have a truly effective and efficient business network is when you get a lending hand when its needed.

The smallest things such as remembering your last conversation with a business connection, making the relationship a sincere one, is how you REALLY build a connection. You’re more likely to help someone when you know them, than merely having a connection on social media. The same goes when you need to convince people about your next great idea. Most of the time, business is made of relationships and perception rather than hard cold facts on performance and ability.

Biased right? We have to first accept this before we can learn to overcome it.

Now let me throw in some data literacy just to confuse you!

In the recent years one of the trendiest topic of research in the statistics field is Statistical/Social Network Analysis. This is a way to measure how much one individual relates to another, and how likely would you form a link to another individual, backed by some statistical probabilities.

If we all lived in a graph with little round dots representing a person and the dots linked with lines, each of us would be a node. When we are connected to another, we form a tie between two nodes.

When calculating the odds of two nodes likely to have a tie, the mathematical principle is that the more similar the two nodes are the stronger the tie (two people alike have a higher possibility of becoming acquainted) and this is called homophily. Which totally makes sense! This is how social media platforms decide who to recommend you connect with. With something in common, it is easier to break to ice.

All of this is to say, strong ties come naturally. However, to connect with weak ties it takes consciousness. This is because weak ties are the ones that are less like you, and when you have a peculiar question or issue that you stumble upon, chances are, that those with weaker ties may have the answers or expertise that you do not have and can complement on your weaknesses. At the same time, such ties will bring innovation and unexpected ideas together. In the next post we will work on the three key areas to look into and how you can assess your own business network (without all the fancy maths and graphs), to start creating your own action plan using a star map.