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Virtual Relationships: The Doughnut

Written by: Bill Sherman on Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 6:06 AM

If you live and work within the virtual workplace, you run the risk of creating the doughnut. A doughnut occurs when your national or global professional network exceeds the strength of your local network. Few people plan to create the doughnut. However, if you’re a consultant, it’s easy for your network to develop this way.

I live in St. Louis. I’ve skimmed my inbox and cell-phone log. Today I connected with clients, prospects, and colleagues in the following locations:

  • Pittsburgh
  • Milwaukee (x3)
  • San Jose (x3)
  • Los Angeles
  • Dallas
  • New York City
  • Las Vegas (x2)
  • Phoenix
  • Springfield, IL
  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas (x2)
  • Bangalore (x2)
  • Regina, Saskatchewan

I interacted with two of our employees here in St. Louis, but those two contacts are outweighed 10:1 by virtual relationships. My interactions today represent the virtual relationship doughnut. Most of my contacts and touchpoints were outside of my home city. Few of my contacts were face-to-face contacts. When your workdays include a preponderance of virtual relationships, it’s important to schedule times to expand your network within your hometown.

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