Using Connectional Intelligence Helps to “Get Big Things Done”


The book Get Big Things Done offers advice and stories about companies who leveraged various sources of internal and external talent for greater success.

Get Big Things Done

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Most understand the concept of IQ as a measure of someone’s intelligence. They may have even heard about emotional intelligence or the ability to read and interact with emotions (within us and others). Now there’s a new “intelligence” out there, connectional intelligence.

This new kind of intelligence is discussed in the book “Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence” by authors Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole Joni. Connectional intelligence combines IQ and emotional intelligence. And it throws in the power of strategically connecting with people inside and outside your team in a new way. Connectional intelligence allows businesses (even small businesses) to leverage the power of motivation and relationships to achieve truly incredible things.

This approach involves the ability to successfully find, cultivate, and foster connections for major undertakings. Most business owners are aware of the need for external connections (suppliers, customers, etc.) From a business perspective, listening to the crowd has also always been a part of business. The difference, says Dhawan and Joni, is the way that these connections are used.

Most businesses use a one-way approach with their external connections today. Market research and public relations often offer a limited interaction. They are built on the foundation of finding out what people want and think. You then take that information, create a product or service and give it to your consumers or clients.

Connectional intelligence asks businesses to dig deeper. It involves collaboration with a wide variety of external sources not traditionally in the mix. This means actively and strategically cultivating connections with those outside the traditional process of business problem solving.  It’s a group that could include non-experts, your competition, even your neighbors. The goal is to break out of the limited circle of ideas. It’s a two-way relationship that challenges the old-school model of the business versus the external world. 

People Connecting with Awesome Goals Means Competitive Advantage

Connectional intelligence, however, isn’t just a willy-nilly “ask anyone for an answer” type of business strategy. It’s a strategic method that attempts to tap new resources for driving business growth. In short, it helps business get better by opening themselves up to more options for getting answers.

The book looks at this process by focusing on how businesses can leverage the diversity of internal and external talent. For internal talent, the authors suggest looking at the personality traits of your team (as does author Jeff DeGraff in “Making Stone Soup.”) Managers and team leaders are then encouraged to identify projects that make the best use of these traits.

When internal talent is not enough, however, “Get Big Things Done” suggests businesses seek out answers from other sources. (Consider the arts, math, even consumers, to name only a few.) Develop external relationships to help generate more brain power for what you need to do.

Another aspect of connectional intelligence focused on in the book is a new approach to goal setting. Instead of setting simple, practical goals, the authors of “Get Big Things Done” encourage business leaders to aim higher. Small business owners and managers should genuinely reflect and pick goals that are realistic, but stretch their teams to new standards.

Big goals, they suggest, mobilize people to work better and to seek better ideas instead of settling for more of the same. And fostering an environment where goals are exceptional makes it easier to attract the people needed to collaborate on a solution.

Using these two aspects of connectional intelligence — a larger talent base and bigger goals — helps businesses of all sizes leverage big results for less money. “Get Big Things Done” provides examples of big companies like Colgate-Palmolive able to save thousands of dollars in product development through the help of an unemployed engineer found through an idea crowdsourcing site.

There are also instances of individuals working together for big outcomes. For example, Ahmed Abulhassan was able to get supplies to people in Tahrir Square during the Cairo protests using only his Twitter account and an idea. Any business, group, or organization can achieve great things, according to “Get Big Things Done.” Just mobilize the connections around your company to achieve something worthwhile.

Lots of Encouragement and Case Studies for the Reader

“Get Big Things Done” focuses on the positive and on making the most of a modern connected world. Rather than bemoaning the complexity of business strategy and marketing in modern times, the authors recommend embracing it.

Get outside the box to find the support you need. Look deeper into the personalities of your current team. Connect on a larger scale to get bigger results. “Get Big Things Done” amplifies these themes through case studies and research drawing from many different sources.

If you are a business owner or manager pursuing more ambitious goals, this is a book to consider. “Get Big Things Done” combines the practicality of a project management book with the inspirational insight of self-help for a very unique result.

About the Authors

Erica Dhawan is a consultant, speaker, and CEO of Cotential. She can be found on her website and on Twitter at @edhawan. Saj-Nicole Joni is a consultant, author, and speaker. Get Big Things Done will be available on February 24, 2015. This article was based on an early copy of the book provided for reviewing purposes.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

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