One More Idea for Weaving Your Small Town Regional Flavor Network

by Joanne Steele on December 2, 2009

On Monday we talked about weaving together your town’s assets into a strong network to support a vibrant Regional Flavor strategy.

Here’s another idea for building that interconnectedness.

My company has been tapped to help two local non-profits secure new, interested, committed board members to fill vacant slots.

I’m approaching it with a focus on network weaving. A nonprofit board of directors is strengthened when its members contribute the perspective of many different groups within the community it serves.

Take a look at the very simple mapping process I demonstrated in my previous Regional Flavor post. You can see that if I drew a new point for Board A, and secured a new board member from each of the other identified clusters, I would instantly connect those dots.

So, how do you find the people who are going to be good “connecters”?

Here’s a process I learned years ago that is a perfect fit for discovering more about small town networks.

Once you’ve identified your clusters, go to people in each cluster and ask them three questions. Reassure them that their answers are confidential.

The questions are:

1. If you had a problem or a project you needed help with, who are the 6 people you would ask? If they hesitate in answering ask question 2.

2. If your group were going to have an event, name 6 people who would be on the top of the guest list? The ball will start to roll, but if needed to keep them thinking, ask question number 3.

3. Who are the 6 people you know who can be depended upon to get things done?

The number of people you ask for is unimportant as long as it’s 3 or more.

Ask at least 5 or 6 people in each of the clusters including the people who appear on your list.

You will begin to see patterns, with people’s names cropping up often.

As you move through two or three cluster groups from your map you’ll also begin to see a few people who appear on the lists from several clusters.

The people that rise to the top from each cluster and the people who belong to several clusters are your best candidates for helping to weave your town together behind a Regional Flavor Strategy.

For my project, these are the people I will recommend as new members for the nonprofit boards. They are workers, they have the respect of a significant portion of their own cluster, and they will naturally help to build the “Smart Community” described in Valdis Krebs and June Holley’s paper, Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving

1 Valdis Krebs December 2, 2009 at 9:22 pm

The URL for June’s and my paper does not work… the “.pdf” is missing. Here is the whole accurate URL…

Nice advice in the post above! Also look to “close triangles” in the existing network to help weave the net.

2 Joanne Steele December 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

Thanks! The link is fixed. I appreciate your comment. Your work on network weaving is so important, if small towns knew about it and applied it to any of their community improvement efforts, they could increase their likelihood of success by orders of magnitude.

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