Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are Your "Best of" Lists Alienating Your Network?

Lists are big in my business. Want to get someone to read your story? List 10 ways they can lose weight by consuming only pancakes, lima beans and Fresca for two weeks.

Those are fun to read, aren't they? We don't always take them seriously, but they help sell magazines or newspapers or get people to click on a website.

But there are some kinds of lists I don't like. I don't like "best companies" to work for because I find too many employees who work there and who couldn't disagree more. Those "best" lists, I find, often end up leaving out some folks or companies who should have been included.

If I were to ask you to list the five "best" people in your network, could you do it? Your answer might change from day-to-day. One day, Fred really helped you land a great customer, so you'd want to put him on your list. But the next day, it's Lisa who was really the biggest help. After a year, what does your "best" list look like now, hmmmm?

If you've got 500+ connections on LinkedIn, how in the world can you say that some are the "best"? What does that make the other people -- the "worst"? Or the "so-so"?

Maybe you try to get around this by asking people to add to your "best" list.

"My apologies to anyone I forgot!" you may say. But that's sort of like forgetting to invite someone to your birthday party, and then asking them to add their name to a list of those who actually were AT the party.

Not exactly a way to make someone in your network feel special.

A network is about give and take. It's about making everyone feel they add value, and you returning that value to them. Ranking the "best" isn't the "best" way to go about it.

Your thoughts?



Andrew G.R. said...

Pancakes, lima beans and Fresca ...I thought I was the only one on that diet! ;-)

I agree that lists are generally useless and that intelligent readers are starting to see through the "5 Best" trend.

Anita said...

I know that diet worked wonders for me...how about you? :)
Thanks for you comments!