In our book, we talk about the power of getting involved in meaningful activity as a tool for building your social capital. It’s actually an idea we borrowed from Wayne Baker’s terrific book, Achieving Success through Social Capital.
Most people recognize the power of relationships to produce positive impact in their lives. And, despite that, most people generally dislike the idea of what they believe they have to do in order to get these relationships. That’s because we assume that building our network means going to cheesy, superficial networking events where we shake hands, swap cards and engage in idle chit chat. It’s not like that at all.
The best way to build relationships of significance is by getting involved in some activity (project, volunteerism, event, board, etc.) that is meaningful to you and where you are there to make a difference. As you get involved in meaningful activity with other people, you get to know each other in the context of doing some work together around shared interests and common purpose. This is fertile ground on which to grow social capital that will propel your success.
We’ve been practicing this for years. Clear back to the early days of our friendship over a decade ago, Joe and I were forming groups and organizing causes. Through these efforts, we met so many great people who have been really important to us through the years. Getting involved in meaningful activity is fun, rewarding, and the best way to build your network in a high-impact way.
For those who haven’t heard yet, one of our most recent efforts at creating meaningful activity is The Frontier Project. We felt like creating and hosting this event would be a great way to find and connect with others who are motivated like we are to see the work of human resources reinvented to be less wasteful of talent and more human being friendly. This is important and meaningful work and we are on a quest to drive some change. The event is still a couple weeks off, so registrations are still coming in if you’d like to join us. But, we’ve already had the opportunity to connect to and do work with some awesome people in a new way. Cool things are happening, our network is growing.
For example, Joel Cheesman of Drawmations reached out to us to inquire about partnering. Though this partnership, he created this really cool video about the event. Magic happens when you get involved in meaningful activity. You should try it.