Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is the Value of Social Capital?

We’ve all heard about physical capital, it is on your balance sheet.  Human capital is found in they way your people are organized and deployed.  Intellectual capital is found in the ideas born through innovation and deployed in new ways.  But what about social capital?

Networking for Life was founded on the principles of developing and harvesting value in a network.  The challenge is unleashing the value of that network in terms of social capital.  We’d all agree that our networks have extrinsic and intrinsic value and that often, the best result is not an economic one.  Still, we need to protect those networks because they have created value for us personally.  Thus, social capital.

When I give you a lead or introduce you to somebody in my network, part of me goes with you.  The most valuable part – my reputation.  But how did that reputation become valuable?  I would contend that the value of your social capital is directly proportional to work you have done for others.  The “schmooze” will only get you so far but the value you have created for others is the basis for your social capital.

The “moment of value” occurs when two individuals or organizations exchange something of value between them.  A notion of trust is exchanged.  When I spend a life time in a market – following through on what I say I’m going to do –  I create value in my personal brand.  That brand is translates into social capital.  Social capital is monetized when those relationships create value for others.  And, as we we’ve talked before, if you create value for others, your social capital increases!

The concept of social capital is why integrity and servant leadership are so important in Networking for Life.  You’ve heard it said “it takes a life time to develop a reputation, and only seconds to destroy it.” It’s true.  Be the one who is consistently increasing his or her social capital.  You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Show Up!

I know you are busy.  I know there is not enough time in the day.  I know it is often hard.  But what about your dreams?  Are they big enough?

When I talk to business development individuals and active networkers, the theme is consistent – “80% of what I do is a waste of time.”  In other words, the activity cannot always be tied to a specific accomplishment.  We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule, but imagine if you only attended the “right” events or chased the “right” deals.  Would your success rate go up?  Of course it would.  Is that possible?  Of course not.

While we can get better through experience in picking the “best” activities, we never know.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had something on my calendar before or after work and I get that ugh! feeling.  Then, the voices start. “You can miss this time, it won’t hurt anything.”

My experience is that when that voice starts talking, I start walking because in my life, every time I show up, something good happens.  I’m looking for it.  It may be an idea.  It may be a contact I’ve been wanting to meet.  It may be an old friend that I haven’t seen in a while.  It may be somebody who needs my help.

On my campus visits I try to stay around afterwards and meet students one on one for as long as they line up and for as long as I can stand.  I’m amazed at how many tell me “I came along because my friend brought me but I really got a lot out of your talk.”  

As teachers and speakers, we are in the seed sowing business.  Somebody else will have to water the ground and tend the crop.  Make no mistake, seed planting happens every time two gather to exchange ideas.  The largest trees and the greatest crops, all start with a seed.  Sometimes you just have to show up to get them!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Get in the Game!

I love football!  I miss it when it is not in season and I look forward to it every year.  There is something about the commitment to excellence, the requirement of teamwork and the law of inches that all combine to make for great memories. 

At the high school level, a commitment to being the best starts long before spring or fall practice.  It starts in the weight room, far from the glitz and glamour.  Far from the bright lights and the touchdowns.  You have to pump the iron, run the sprints and prepare yourself to win.  Where there is no preparation, there can be no victory.

When I wrestled in High School, I remember a quote that went something like this.  “Remember, when you are not working, there is someone else who is, and when you meet him, he will beat you.”  It still sends chills up my spine when I read it because in the game of life, preparedness is the mother skill.  Many a motivational speaker has said “where opportunity and preparedness meet, victory is close behind.”

In networking, you have to get in the game.  You have to practice and rehearse far from the bright lights and the victory that follows.  If you don’t prepare, you will not succeed.  The great football coach Vince Lombardi use to say “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”  Now that’s a great word!

In Paris, France – April 23rd, 1910 President Theodore Roosevelt gave his famous “The Man In The Arena Speech.”  I think he was talking about “getting in the game.”

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ASM at BYU – The Marriott School of Management – On a Roll!

One Hundred and Forty strong attended Tuesday evening’s Networking for Life presentation at the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. The event was sponsored by the Association of Systems Management (ASM).

What a group! In an environment where many schools are straying from hard core business and technology development, the Marriott School is training future leaders in core business practices steeped in the coolest technology. These leaders understand that no matter what they choose to do in their careers, having “hands on” technology experience is critical.

  • In April, 2010, a BYU team won a mobile development competition for creating Hippo Blast at the second annual Omniture iPhone App Competition.
  • In May of 2010, BYU won the APEX Global Business IT Case Challenge in Singapore by beating out 24 other global competitors.
  • In May of 2010, a team of Masters students won first-place and the “audience choice” award for NoteSync, a computer program for synchronizing to-dos and other notes with Google Docs.

On a roll indeed! Information Technology no longer runs the business, it is the business. The media would have you believe that the best software development jobs are going overseas. Not a chance! Innovation is driving both hardware and software platforms to the point where these students will solve “unknown and unmet” business problems during their careers. The future is ripe for business and technology!

Get involved, show up, plug in. Sometimes Networking for Life is about showing up and leaving energized and focused on the future.

Great Job ASM!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take that First Small Step

Sometimes it’s the “getting started” that is tough.  Health clubs sign up lots of folks around “resolution time.”  I think mostly we psyche ourselves out.  We re-arrange the desk before making that important call.  We put “it” off.  We rationalize that we just don’t have the personality for it – in fact, we hate it!  Stephen Covey said it best – don’t trade the urgent for the important.  They say that people don’t change until the pain to stay the same is greater than the pain to change.  Find a reason to change!  Just start networking one small step at a time.  Be a giver and a connector, not a crowd worker!  It is your future.  Get involved.  Track down a friend.  Join LinkedIn.  Update LinkedIn.  Post on Facebook.  Then, follow-up and schedule a face to face meeting with somebody.  People want to help, but you have to ask!

Start today!

A reprint from United Technologies as Published in the Wall Street Journal, 1984.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.

You fell down the first time you tried to walk.

You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?

Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MISA at The University of Texas ROCKS!

Monday evening I had the honor to speak to a great group of students at MISA – the Management Information Systems Association at the University of Texas at Austin.  These guys are serious about Networking for Life!  The room was packed!

These young men and women understand that networking is more than just meeting people.  I heard from their Community Service Chairman, their Academic Chairman, their Social Chairman and others.  They are intent in doing well in college, having fun and giving back to the community.  Their parents would be proud! 

When it comes to finding a job the data is overwhelming.

  • “Networking has proven to be two to three times more productive than all other employment sources combined, accounting for an estimated 64 to 75% of all jobs landed.”  - Richard Beatty in his book Job Search Networking.
  • Almost two out of every three jobs (63.4%) were found via networking. – U.S. Department of Labor study that included 10.4 million job seekers.  Jobs posted accounted for filling 14% of job openings, search followed at 12%, while cold calls netted jobs for only 10.5% of job seekers.
  • Two similar studies by Harvard University professor and sociologist Mark Granovetter and the other by Brandywine Consulting Group showed that networking accounts for job landings in 74.5% and 68% of cases, respectively.

Organizations like MISA exist on campus’s across the U.S. and serve as a place for social gathering, networking, and act like a safety net to accelerate learning.  If you are a student, get involved.  If you are an adult, find your leaking ship.  If you are interested in MIS, get MISA going at your campus! You’ll be glad you did.

Things are rockin in MIS at The University of Texas