Here at RelSci, we’ve always known that the key to success in business is relationships. To help put some faces to our claim, in June of 2014, we worked with Crain’s New York Business to gather and rank New York City’s most connected denizens, using RelSci analytics to examine their first- and second-degree connections and determine who carried the most clout in the Big Apple. The inaugural Crain’s 200 Most Connected were drawn from diverse industries, but the common thread was influence; these were men and women with access to a wide array of organizations and individuals and the ability to lead major business decisions.
This year, we continue our examination of influence in Detroit, a city where, perhaps, relationships mean more than they ever have before. Crain’s Detroit Business worked with RelSci to rank the city’s 100 most connected individuals, whittled down from a list of nearly 10,000. Compiled as Motor City continues its slow post-recession rebound, the list includes men and women from finance, manufacturing, energy, law, nonprofit and more.
To form our list, we took the initial 10,000 candidates and assessed each against five benchmarks: reach, reliability, influence, access and centrality. Or, to put it another way: number of connections (reach); the strength of those connections (reliability); number of links to other super-connectors (influence) and super-connected organizations (access); and the capacity for connecting previously unconnected individuals (centrality). The resulting Top 100 boasts tens of thousands of connections each, many of which, when leveraged, have helped them not only establish or grow successful companies and nonprofits in Detroit, but, in recent years, also helped bring the city back from the edge of disaster.
“The resulting Top 100 boasts tens of thousands of connections each, many of which have helped them not only establish or grow successful businesses in Detroit, but also helped bring the city back from the edge of disaster.”
As RelSci CMO Josh Mait wrote in an article for Entrepreneur earlier this year, networks play a very special role in Detroit. A city in crisis, Detroit in many ways mimics the concerns of business owners and CEOs everywhere—but it’s also a source of potential solutions. For example, inspired by Quicken Loans CEO and Crain’s 100 member Dan Gilbert, and his downtown revitalization plan for Detroit, small businesses leveraged their relationships with local nonprofits to open up shop along formerly abandoned byways within the city.
But it’s not just about starting businesses. Relationship capital is a critical tool in the operations and growth of organizations large and small. It’s what gives executives and sales teams the warm introductions necessary to access prospective clients and clear the hurdle of the cold call. It opens doors to strategic partnerships and M&A opportunities and creates new revenue streams from referrals. Within a company, connections make for more efficient and effective recruiting and foster communication across departments, creating a culture of knowledge sharing that paves the way for quicker solutions to problems revenue-related or otherwise.
Bottom line: Relationships power business. And in Detroit, influencers like JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s John C. Carter, Henry Ford Health Systems’ Nancy Schlichtling and American Axle’s David Dauch (numbers one, two and three on the list, respectively) are leveraging their relationships not only for the future of their businesses, but for the future of Motor City itself. Click here to see the full list of Crain’s Detroit Business top connectors and here to see what RelSci, the relationship mapping company, can do for your organization.