Who’s Who (in the Zoo)

When you’re driving change, you’ll need the help of people you’ve never met.

How do you find those people and create a connection with them?

First, you must know what my long-ago-boss’-boss called “Who’s Who in the Zoo.”

In organizations governed by their org. chart, you must know who the head of each section/division/department/whatever-you-call-it is, if you hope to ever get information from or about that group.

Even more important in organizations governed by their org. chart, you want to know desperately who the person is within that section/division/department/whatever-you-call-it who actually helps people.  Too often the boss is the boss, distant and unapproachable.  Instead, look for the person on your level or below in that group, who can tell you who really wields the power or controls the information.  These are the true “who’s who”s to map.

Finding the person on top of the org. chart is easy.  Check the company or organization’s website.

Finding the person who actually does the work or has the information is harder, but it is manageable if you’re willing to do a bit of digging.

I’d go looking for these people in non-organizational organizations, such as a management organization, a union, or a Toastmasters Group.  Frequently, the socially-inclined people in the organization are the socially-inclined people outside the organization.  These are the people that enjoy making a new acquaintance, get excited about serving a new acquaintance and can be lasting connections for you to the organization.

If you can’t find them there, go looking for the person through your current connections.  Ask the people you always go to for advice on “Who’s Who in the Zoo,” to tell you who they know in that group, and would your connection mind if you used their name to introduce yourself to the person.  Most times, I’d bet your connection agrees.

Last but not least, go to their organization area (e.g., their office spaces) and start asking people for help.  “Excuse me, can you tell me who I should speak to regarding…?” Most times, they’ll point you to someone, who will point you to someone, who will get you to the person you want.

Let’s review:

1. Check the org. chart.

2. Look for them at non-group group functions.

3. Ask your connections to connection you.

4. Ask at the organization directly.

Making a connection may take some effort, but if the connection is essential (which it often is), your investment of your time will be rewarded in the end.

Why not try?

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