Who you know matters.
Sometimes this idea receives skeptical responses. Some folks can’t take it seriously—“We are here to work, not make friends!” Some think it’s about prioritizing popularity over performance. Some think it’s a conversation about mastering the unspoken politics of the workplace.
However, who you know matters in very work-related, performance-related ways. Relationships, both the quantity and quality, are even strongly connected to mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality.
Relationships matter, and this is about much more than popularity.
Relationships often serve as portals through which things find their way to us—valuable things such as information, ideas, and opportunities. In fact, we consider these things to be a form of capital. In his book Achieving Success Through Social Capital, Wayne Baker defines social capital as “the resources available to an individual through their relationships with and connections to others.”
The resources themselves can take many different forms, showing up in both your personal and professional life, but they are things of value that you have access to as a result of the relationships you have with others.
Investing a bit of intention, attention, and effort in building, caring for, and contributing to relationships is one of the best investments you can make in your own development. One of the wonderful things about building social capital is that it doesn’t matter who you are. Regardless of your age, education, race, gender, title, or tenure, if you want more social capital, you can have more social capital. The choice is yours; it is simply a matter of making the commitment and finding some practices and habits that work for you.
What will you do this week to build your posse?