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How much value could there be in getting back in touch with long-inactive contacts?
Researchers asked a group of 116 executives in executive MBA classes in the U.S. and Canada to explore the idea. The executives were asked to think of an important project at work and come up with 10 long-lost contacts who they had both strong and weak connections to who might have a perspective on the project. They were asked to rank-order those 10 reconnection choices.
They then were asked to actually get in touch with those folks and ask for project-related advice.
Surprise: It turned out that the tenth most-valued contact offered just as many rewards as the first.
That information comes from authors Daniel Z. Levin, Jorge Walter and J. Keith Murnighan, writing in “The Power of Reconnection — How Dormant Ties Can Surprise You.”
The go on to say: “Most managers have at least a thousand dormant relationships. While they can’t all be useful, our research suggests that the dormant ties that come to mind easily all tend to be worthwhile.”
The story appears in the Spring 2011 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.