Transactions are not made in the boardroom, they are only formalised there. People are not hired in the interview rooms, they are hired somewhere else.
Decisions are not made by men in suits, they are only formalised by them. People are not fired in disciplinary hearings, they are fired on the golf course, and the decision is formalised in a disciplinary hearing.
Contracts are awarded over coffee, and braais. You see these are things that we are not necessarily taught in school, yet these things will affect you in your business.
Deliberately, let us have this conversation on building our social capital.
You need people
I hear people saying that, “I do not need anyone.” Well, as long as you are on this planet, you need people. Your first bath was done by other people, your final bath will be done by other people.
Your burial will be done by other people. No matter how powerful you were, you will not be able to carry your dead self. You need other people. You thus have to make it a point to build your network, and in particular build a healthy social capital. This will take you a long way in this life.
Priority of social capital
There are many forms of capital. We are accustomed to the financial one. This is what many people are always looking for when they want to start a business.
I had lunch with a Nigerian businessperson who is based in Harare. I was curious to know his entrepreneurship journey and how he views doing business in Zimbabwe.
His answer was interesting, he says Zimbabwe is a very ready market for business. He says he made US$4,000,00 in his first week in Zimbabwe. How did he do it? His answer was interesting, “people”, and “trust”.
Someone was able to trust him enough to recommend him to someone with stocks which he in turn supplied to members of the Indian community in Harare with a chain of shops.
Without money, he was able to make money because of “relationships”
The most important asset you have in life is not your job, money or title; it’s people. Your answers and solutions to your problems are hidden in people.
Have you ever heard the statement that your network is your net worth? There are so many benefits to building a strong network.
Your network can help you build visibility, connect you with influencers, and open up doors for new opportunities. Building and nurturing a network is one of the most powerful things you can do to support your personal and professional development. You thus need to master the art of building social capital.
You need people in your life, and this will create a special type of capital for you. “Social Capital” refers to the people you know; the people who know you and how they know you.
You need to make a conscious decision to invest in social relationships. For many people, they think the purpose of social capital is just to cover you when you experience a bereavement or when you need people to attend your wedding.
People dread abusers
A number of times people only reach out to people when they have experienced a problem but never when they had none.
People dread people who just want to use them.
You cannot just come and leave people’s lives as and when it suits you. Learn to be sensitive and to build solid relationships, and these may even open doors for you.
The majority of decisions are not even made in formal circles, they are done in very informal set ups, and then are formalised through formal set ups, that is why investing in social capital is very important.
Social capital will save you time and make certain processes quicker and faster. I went to a certain police station to attend to a client who had been arrested.
On arrival I identified myself, and the police officer who saw my practising certificate could not hide his joy, and quickly introduced me to his team, and asked them to serve me quickly.
I had never met him, but he had met my work, and in a way my social capital was built. We should desire to build good names wherever we are. These will open doors for us.
Be intentional about building it
You do not build social capital overnight. It is a journey that is built on reciprocity. Your next big opportunity may actually be tied in your social capital, that is why you need to learn to build relationships.
Connect with people in your circles. Check on people, send birthday messages, check their timelines and comment something positive and inspirational.
Learn to pick your phone and call someone, or text them. They maybe your relative, your colleague, your former schoolmate, a former or current boss, your CEO, your parents, attend special events when invited, and even attend bereavements for people close to them etc.
You will be shocked what this does to your social capital account.
I preside over a busy schedule, but do you know what I do on my social media, I scroll once in a while and post birthday messages on some of my friends even those I do not talk to often.
I reply messages whenever I get feedback. What am I doing, I am building my social capital. Prioritise creating a connection with people as this is important in building your social capital.
Learn to respect everyone no matter their status in life and be there when others need you. Respect people even without asking what they do for a living, this will open doors for you.
Focus on being a solution, an encouragement and inspiration. You attract more bees in life through honey and not vinegar.
I want to close this article with a quote from George Washington, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, corporate and personal branding speaker commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal and professional development. Arthur is the author of “Toys for Adults” a thought provoking book on entrepreneurship, and “No one is Coming” a book that seeks to equip leaders to take charge. Send your feedback to [email protected] or Visit his website www.arthurmarara.com or contact him on WhatsApp: +263780055152.