Using the LinkedIn InMap Application allows me to quickly see how my current professional network is grouped into four (4) main clusters:
- Cluster 1: Kantar Health Contacts (my current employer)
- Cluster 2: Washington University Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Contacts
- Cluster 3: Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY) Management Consulting Alumni
- Cluster 4: Washington University / Olin School of Business MBA Alumni
InMaps provides me several insights about my professional network:
Insight 1: Identify the Highly Networked Individuals Within Your Clusters. In the InMaps application, you can zoom in to see the individual names of people within your professional network clusters. It quickly becomes obvious who has significant reach (which is important when you turn to your professional network to solve specific problems).
Insight 2: Never Underestimate the Influence of Old School Ties. Until, I used InMaps, I never fully understood the influence of my Washington University undergraduate (Cluster 2) and graduate school (Cluster 3, MBA) relationships on my professional network.
Looking back, I leaned heavily on these relationships (epecially my former Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Fraternity brothers) when I applied to business school, looked for new jobs, sought advice in dealing with the dynamics of corporate politics, or needed a trusted sounding board on personal as well as professional issues.
Insight 3: My Current Employer and First Job After Business School Comprise A Significant Number of My Professional Contacts. My working years in Cluster 1 (Kantar Health / MattsonJack) and Cluster 3 (CGEY Management Consulting Alumni) comprise a significant portion of my professional network.
I attribute this to a number of factors:
- Both firms are management consulting firms
- You build strong, individual ties with fellow colleagues in team-driven environments
- Nothing rallies a management consulting team together more than the goal of outstanding client service under tight timelines
Insight 4: Why Haven't I Reconnected with Contacts from Other Jobs? I've held other jobs at different organizations, but I'm not connected with these individuals on LinkedIn. Perhaps, this represents an opportunity to reunite with past colleagues?
I'll have to think more about that because this observation requires more self-reflection.
I Recommend Using LinkedIn's InMaps. The application helps you understand important aspects of your professional life especially why you've chosen to connect with specific individuals.
In addition, understanding why you haven't reconnected with certain people from certain organizations is also valuable.
Have you tried LinkedIn's InMaps? What have you learned about your visualizing your professional network?
If you'd like to learn more about InMaps, here's a YouTube Video from the LinkedIn Blog:
BONUS: This post by Whitney Hess, Hubs and Connectors: Understanding Networks Through Data Visualization, is the most informative post I've read on the science behind social networks and LinkedIn's InMaps.