This epiphany occurred, like they always do, by accident.
Recently I was writing one of those nudge/pitch emails to a longtime colleague I respect and like, gently following up on a previous exchange about possible collaboration. It happens that I’d just had a separate exchange with another longtime colleague, one whose talent and resume always slay me.
It occurred to me that the two of them would work really well together. I could almost picture the conversation they’d have, building on each other’s ideas, sparking new thinking. And I could almost picture the new kinds of output and outcomes they’d generate.
So I added this to my nudge note: “If you’re too polite to tell me I’m not right for project X, let me introduce you to a wonderful colleague who….”
Here’s the thing: It wasn’t kindness or generosity I was feeling. It was energy. I was animated by the possibilities I imagined that these two work friends, newly connected, might generate.
Now, there’s nothing new about the dynamic of introducing one colleague to another. It’s called, um, networking.
What felt wholly fresh was the electric potential of connecting these two humans, both of high integrity, strong character, sharp skills, and deep experience.
And it reminded me that this is the always surprising power of possibility. In this case, it’s not that the idea of connecting two talents is new. It’s that their connection will be new.
I’m now striving to make ‘n’ new introductions every week (my quota is secret), because when I think of the many diverse humans I admire, and the bold goals they’re pursuing, it seems like professional malpractice not to make connections where they don’t yet exist. (They don’t necessarily need my help, of course, but I’d be leaving too much fun on the table not to play.)
There’s yet another, more selfish, benefit: Recommending and connecting others puts us in touch with what we admire about them, reminding us how we could improve our skills (or ourselves) by adopting some of their methods.
Like any new convert shaken from inertia, I want to enlist you in my quest: Think about the wonderful / talented / inspiring / innovative / generous humans you’re lucky enough to know. Recommend them here on LinkedIn, or use email (or phone!) to introduce one to the other. Think about two more, and repeat….
Who knows what possibilities you’ll spark?
(Side note: It’s not only about making strangers aware of one another. We can generate similar possibilities with well-known teammates when we learn new things about each other’s strengths and superpowers, and when we share our really troublesome problems and needs. I have an exercise to explore that, called “The Riches of Our Team,” with a worksheet you can download here.)