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Networking

One talent that is highly desirable to find among the leaders of a social innovation proposal is the skill and attitudes of a consummate networker.  A good networker spends most of the time, 40+ hours per week, sometimes 80 hour weeks, as much as possible in person or on the phone in a highly personal relationship with key supporters, informing them of developments, successes and to a lesser degree failures, but always honest as the day is long, suggesting new contacts that supporters can arrange, always very, very polite and thankful for all help, returning all calls, replying to all e-mails, in touch with at least a hundred, sometimes as many as a thousand persons.  A productive contact mode is conversing, face-to-face but often on the phone.  Conversations must be interesting to the other party, and accordingly are often lengthy, impressive, and important too.  Conference calls can multiply effectiveness of the consummate networker two to twenty-fold.  

It may seem incredible that this can be done well over the years holding a thousand persons in a single network.  Here is a simple calculation to show how it works.  Conversations with an average of three persons a day, each lasting an hour or two and bringing each person up-to-date, can hold a friend or supporter for over a year.  Brief conversations at large meetings during the year or even years back, help keep the bond formed by two persons in a private conversation who share dedication to the same innovation.  So 3 contacts per day for close to 365 days per year produces over a thousand in a network.  With a good networker, the contact list evolves slowly over the years, some names dropping off, but more important, a general upgrading of support from more contacts who themselves (1) generally have gained greater experience in relevant issues, (2) built larger networks of the their own, (3) have increased political clout, and (4) lead to more and larger donations.   A networker this good takes years to develop and is an essential member of the inner circle of innovation-entrepreneurs.