What causes people to connect with each other? The answer is elusive and yet critical for us to understand the processes that lead from connecting to sharing and finally to collaborating.
- Connection - happen often serendipitously around common interests, passions, practices. Over the last several years of blogging I have connected with people from the areas of HR, Recruiting, KM, Consulting - things I have blogged about and have read on their blogs - identified with their passion that gets articulated from their writing and ultimately leading on to making a connecting - either by linking to them, leaving a comment (most of the time both of them !) Ever wondered why the umpteen people you meet in conferences do not get to build those relationships? That's because (in my opinion) the "visibility" of the common interests are not two-way. Let me explain - when I am at a industry meeting/conference I have had lots of people come up to me and say they read my blog/like it etc. However, what I don't know is their interests, their passion about the subjects, hence coming in the way of building a connection.
- Sharing - This is the second step of the relationship - and builds trust to a large extent. Again, blogging has made sharing a one sided process, personal bloggers share their vulnerabilities and professional bloggers about their low phases. Sharing information reinforces the connection too. When the sharing is both or multi-sided, they can eventually get round to working in the next step
- Collaboration - Collaboration is when two or more people work together towards an outcome. When a group works together the processes they follow is summarised by Tuckman's model. Using social technologies the forming stage is by self selection based on connection and storming and norming is facilitated by sharing - which gets round to performing as a collaborative group.
All these three stages are rooted in the "social object" of the community formed by the above steps. The strength in each of these steps enables the community to reach the next step and reinforces the previous one too. So it's not really a step like the visual shows but more like a spiral growth.