Oftentimes we focus on building strong relationships with people, strong ties. After all, the better we know someone and the stronger the relationship is, the more valuable it is for us right? It’s a bit counter-intuitive but in the workplace it is not the strong ties that can be the most beneficial, in fact, weak ties (acquaintances or people that you might not know that well) can be far more valuable!
In 1973 the sociologist Mark Granovetter published a paper titled “The Strength of Weak Ties” in which he talks about and explains the value of weak ties. Granovetter analogizes weak ties to being bridges which allow us to disseminate and get access to information that we might not otherwise have access to. In fact, Granovetter states, “all bridges are weak ties.” This was a theme I discussed in detail in my previous book, The Collaborative Organization.