The Law of the Few
We looked at the Pareto Principle in the earlier post, which most people recognize as the 80/20 Rule. Malcolm Gladwell has written several books around this theme and he says, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”
Gladwell describes these gifted people as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.
Connectors: These are the people who “link us up with the world… people with a special gift for bringing the world together.” They are the “handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances.” Generally, a Connector will have hundreds of people in their networks. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to “their ability to span many different worlds as a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.”
Mavens: These are the “people we rely upon to connect us with new information”, or “information specialists.” Gladwell states, “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.” Gladwell even refers to one such Maven as “almost pathologically helpful”.
Salesmen: These are the “persuaders”, people who have powerful negotiation skills as well as charisma. This group is energetic, enthusiastic, charming, and happy. They have the ability to intuitively tune in to the energy and harmony of others. Salesmen have the ability to tap into change through their persuasive abilities.
Gladwell describes the Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen as having a natural gift and all three groups are extremely important in the healthy functioning of society. But this doesn’t mean doom and gloom for the rest of the population. Some of these skills can be learned and developed. Suggestion: Look around at the people you most admire and ask one to be your personal mentor. If you’re flying with the eagles some positive attributes will inevitably rub off on you!