Much like everything else we do in life, building a network does not take place in a vacuum and is dependent on other people and events. When we build these relationships, they are not self-sustaining and we cannot just move from one to the next and expect them to “bear fruit”. There are many variables involved in this process but perhaps the most important is taking the time to nurture relationships for no other reason than the sincere desire to seem them flourish. We cannot become so focused on gaining some benefit from relationships that we lose sight of the relationship itself. Building social capital is a process that cannot be done quickly. It is about building heterogeneous networks (instead of homogeneous ones – for more on this visit www.bettertogether.org). In order to build a vibrant network, we need to reach to those who have different interests, backgrounds, and ideas. This way everyone in the network has value to bring to everyone else since we may have divergent points of views.
There is also Mark Granovetter (www.stanford.edu/dept/soc/people/mgranovetter) who wrote about the strength of weak ties over 30 years ago. He noted that our best chance for leveraging relationships is to get to know the people who are contacts of our contacts. This theory was recently discussed in a “The Power of Who” by Bob Beaudine (www.powerofwho.com). He posits that we already know everyone we need to know in order to be successful…we just need to take the time foster these relationships.
With all of the buzz around social media these days, it is important we all create our own strategy when it comes to building our prosperity plexus