Key point: The following quote is from expert blogger Brian Solis’ The 6 Pillars of Social Commerce: Understanding the Psychology of Engagement.
“Perhaps the greatest asset in social capital is that of benevolence. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of paying it backward, where we expect to be paid or rewarded for our goods, services, or actions. However, those who invest in helping others or those who pay it forward will earn something greater than a reaction, they will earn a repository of reciprocity. As human beings, we have an innate desire to repay favors to maintain a balance of social fairness whether or not those favors were invited.”
I know from my 40+ years in business that the above is a “truism.” If we make a point to just give without expecting reciprocity at work, we will build a network of support that will be powerful. It has to be genuine but if we act with care and sincere benevolence, our “social capital bank account” grows exponentially. I’m not talking about just the big recognition events but mostly the day-to-day stuff. Think about the following actions in just ONE day of thoughtful action:
1. You smile and walk into the office and ask how the receptionist’s weekend was and you genuinely listen with presence to the response. (Investment: A mind-set and a few minutes).
2. You bring in a latte for a colleague who you know has little time to get one in the morning. (Investment: $3.50 and a little planning).
3. You send a quick email sincerely complimenting a teammate on something they did. (Investment: Five minutes and a habit in your daily system).
4. You give a call to a colleague as a “heads up” on an issue you know they need to be aware of. (Investment: Five minutes and caring about impacting others).
5. You send a personal card of thanks to someone who helped you on a project. (Investment: Five minutes and a little planning to make this easy to do).
6. At lunch, you Tweet-a-Beer to a friend outside of work; someone who you know is celebrating/struggling/or you just want to let know you’re thinking about them. (Investment: $5 dollars and two minutes to send on Tweet-a-Beer).
7. You walk by a colleague and with meaning ask them about their child, partner, project, car, whatever you are interested in knowing about. (Investment: Five minutes, caring and being present minutes).
8. You thank your boss for the help they gave you on a recent difficult issue. (Investment: Common sense and recognizing your boss likes to get acknowledged too).
9. You pick up your coffee cup and trash after a meeting so someone else doesn’t have to. (Investment: Common courtesy).
10. You schedule a meeting at another person’s space purposefully so you can recognize others from another department as you walk in to the meeting. (Investment: Travel time).
The 10 actions above are almost “free” and probably net around 30 minutes of time investment. And other than minimal time, they can involve zero monetary investment if you choose. But think about the “social capital bank account” you will build when you do some variation of the above activities DAILY! This is the social capital version of compound interest!
- Apply a benevolence mind set to establish a “social capital bank account.”
- Develop a genuine (you can’t pretend or fake this) game plan to recognize others as part of your daily routine.
- Commit to a minimum of five conscious and thoughtful acts a day. Make it a habit. (Then you can progress to 10+).
- Watch your “bank account” grow!
- Obviously you have to work on your skill and competence too, but when you build your social capital “bank account,” you leverage your results!
Getting rich at work in the Triangle,