Today’s world offers so many opportunities that allow people to venture in any direction they want.
Is this a true statement? For the most part it is, but there are many more complications that go along with this optimistic phrase; such as finding the financial resources & reciprocated network support to help you obtain your goals. Going back to school costs money & so does starting a small business. As a single mother for many years I know this only too well. Did it stop me from pursuing a new direction & persevering towards a better life for my son & I? Am I reaping in heaps of cash from pursing my broadcasting & writing passion? The answer is “no” to both these questions & I am I genuinely happy on this challenging path but not without some frustration.
What have I learned along the way in the last 10 years? There are so many lessons it would make your head spin but all of them have made me wiser. The old expression “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a very profound cliché. Reid Hoffman’s article below is a great read on how letting certain people in your life can help with your business aspirations but I would like to add some other points that may help others “starting out” with any type of investment or future adventure.
12 Important Things to Be Aware Of With People You Meet:
- People asking for numerous favors and not offering reciprocation.
- Using your expertise to their advantage while also pursuing a friendship with you.
- People in similar circles asking repetitive questions about your ideas or style of business.
- TMI ~ giving too much information to strangers about new ideas or marketing strategies.
- Trusting too quickly! Keep your eyes open for opportunists.
- Giving people your time without any payment on a regular basis.
- Knowing when a non paid Internship is “not” a stepping stone to being hired!
- Joining forces with someone because you THINK you need them.
- If someone is too difficult in your network find a less stressful scenario & better partnership.
- Be aware of your OWN ego at all times.
- If people offer help take it, but always show appreciation. “What can I do for you?”
- Learn how to connect with others on social media sites. Don’t be fearful of new technology!
Due to the numerous stresses of the economy many people are trying to find new avenues to make their business work at lower costs. Therefore hiring wages are lower, benefits are cut by offering part time positions & people posting craigslist ads are looking for free services in all categories. It is disheartening to go to these job sites and see what some companies expect from prospective employees. In most cases they are only looking for pro bono workers that should be happy to be a part of their organization! Where is the respect for others gone? We all have to eat. Even when there is a $12 – $15 an hour wage offered, the credentials expected is nothing short of a Masters Degree just to be one of the chosen applications. Many companies have online resume forms that take 2 hours to complete & then they don’t respect your time by getting back to you with a yes/no answer.
I am reading Richard Branson’s book “Like a Virgin” and he has a very respectful employee outlook. He rewards his staff regularly & continually pats them on the back. (Something that many companies have forgot how to do in the Millennium.) He is against ageism and believes that you should respect & pay for people who have life experience. We are all going to be working a lot longer with the future retirement age probably closer to 70+ due to the retracting of pension packages & government changes with the old age security pension. (Let’s also not forget that humans live much longer lives today as well.) As a business owner, manager or CEO would you work for free or minimum wage when you have experience in your chosen career? This is a question many companies need to ask themselves. If you want your business to succeed you need to have the old school mentality of treating employees like family; by supporting them, nurturing them and praising their efforts regularly. If a child is constantly berated or never rewarded they do not excel in life. The same goes for employees of a business. Let’s change things up by reciprocating our business & life expectations. If we want something done for us we need to give something back at the same time ~ this goes for family & friendships too.
Susan McCord @ ca.linkedin.com/in/susanmccordtalkshowhost
The article below is excellent advice for business owners & people looking to improve their business relationships. Here is LinkedIn Co-Founder, Venture Capitalist & Author “Reid Hoffman’s Article” on Allies & Acquaintances:
Allies and Acquaintances: Two Key Types of Professional Relationships – by Reid Hoffman
What makes someone an ally in your job and career? First, it’s someone you consult regularly for advice. You trust his or her judgment. Second, you proactively share and collaborate on opportunities together. You keep your antennae especially attuned to an ally’s interests, and when it makes sense to pursue something jointly, you do so. Third, you talk up an ally to other friends. You promote his or her brand. When an ally comes into conflict, you defend him, and stand up for his reputation. And he does the same for you when times get tough. Finally, you are explicit about your bond. You might say to each other, “Hey, we’re allies, right? How can we best help each other?”
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, top producers and directors in Hollywood, have a legendary alliance. The essence of their alliance was well summed up by Howard: “In a business that is so crazy, to actually know that there is somebody who is really smart, who you care about, who has your interests, and who is rowing in the same direction, is something of immense value.” That’s an ally.
I first met Mark Pincus while at PayPal in 2002. I was giving him advice on a start-up he was working on as my PayPal experiences were relevant. From our first conversation, I felt inspired by Mark’s wild creativity and how at times he seems to bounce off the walls with energy. I’m more restrained in comparison, preferring to fit ideas into strategic frameworks instead of unleashing them fire-hose-style. Our different styles make conversation fun. But it’s our similar interests and vision that have made our collaborations so successful. We invested in Friendster together in 2002, at the dawn of social networking. In 2003 the two of us bought the Six Degrees patent, which covers some of the foundational technology of social networking. Mark then started his own social network, Tribe; I started LinkedIn. When Peter Thiel and I were set to put the first money into Facebook in 2004, I suggested that Mark take half of my investment allocation. As a matter of course, I wanted to involve Mark in any opportunity thatseemed intriguing, especially one that played to his social networking background–it’s what you do in an alliance. In 2007, Mark called me to talk about his idea for Zynga, the social gaming company he cofounded and now leads. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to invest and join the board, which I did. Both of us thought Zynga and Facebook would be very strong companies, but no one could have predicted the astronomical heights of success. With an ally, you don’t keep score, you just try to invest in the alliance as much as possible.
What has sustained all this collaboration, despite the fact that the two of us are not official partners in a venture firm, for example? We are both driven by a passion for the Internet industry, especially the social networking space. We complement each other. We like each other as friends. We’ve known each other for awhile—it was several years before we thought of each other as allies. And there’s another seemingly insignificant reason, but it’s important and worth noting: we both live in the San Francisco Bay Area.Physical proximity is actually one of the best predictors of the strength of a relationship, many studies show.
An alliance is always an exchange, but not a transactional one. A transactional relationship is when your accountant files your tax returns and in exchange you pay him for his time. An alliance is when a coworker needs last-minute help on Sunday night preparing for a Monday morning presentation and even though you’re busy, you agree to go over to his house and help.
These “volleys of communication and cooperation” build trust. Trust, writes David Brooks, is “habitual reciprocity that becomes coated by emotion. It grows when two people . . . slowly learn they can rely upon each other. Soon members of a trusting relationship become willing to not only cooperate with each other but sacrifice for each other.”
You cooperate and sacrifice because you want to help a friend in need but also because you figure you’ll be able to call on him in the future when you are the one in a bind. This isn’t being selfish, it’s being human. Social animals do good deeds for one another in part because the deeds will be reciprocated at some point in time. With trusted professional allies, the reciprocation isn’t immediate–i.e., you don’t turn around the next day and say, “Hey, I helped you with your presentation, now I want something back.” Ideally, the notion of an exchange dissolves into the reality that you have intermingled fates. In other words, as the score keeping becomes less and less formal and as the expectation for reciprocal exchange stretches over a longer and longer period of time, a relationship goes from being an exchange partnership to being a true alliance.
Weak Ties and Acquaintances: Expand the Breadth of Your Network
Allies, by the nature of the bond, are few in number. There are many more looser connections and acquaintances who also play a role in your professional life. These are folks you meet at conferences, old classmates, coworkers in other divisions, or just interesting people with interesting ideas who you come upon in day-to-day life. Sociologists refer to these contacts as “weak ties”: people with whom you have spent low amounts of low-intensity time (for example, someone you might only see once or twice a year at a conference, or only know online and not in person) but with whom you’re still familiar and friendly.
Weak ties in a career context were formally researched in 1973, when sociologist Mark Granovetter asked a random sample of Boston professionals who had just switched jobs how they found their new job. Of those who said they found their job through a contact, Granovetter then asked how frequently they saw the contact. He asked participants to mark whether they saw the person often (twice a week), occasionally (more than once a year but less than twice a week), or rarely (once a year or less). About 16 percent of the recipients said they found their job through a contact they saw often. The rest found their job through a contact they saw occasionally (55 percent) or rarely (27 percent). In other words, the contacts who referred jobs were “weak ties.” He summed up his conclusion in a paper appropriately called “The Strength of Weak Ties”: The friends you don’t know very well are the ones who refer winning jobs.
Granovetter accounts for this result by explaining that social cliques, which are groups of people who have something in common, often limit your exposure to wildly new experiences, opportunities, and information. Because people tend to hang out in cliques, your good friends are usually from the same industry, neighborhood, religious group, and the like. The stronger your tie with someone, the more likely they are to mirror you in various ways, and the more likely you are to want to introduce them to your other friends.
From an emotional standpoint, this is great. It’s fun to do things in groups wjth people with whom you have a lot in common. But from an informational standpoint, Granovetter argues this interconnectedness is limiting because the same information recycles through your local network of like-minded friends. If a close friend knows about a job opportunity, you probably already know about it. Strong ties usually introduce redundancy in knowledge and activities and friend sets.
In contrast, weak ties usually sit outside of the inner circle. You’re not necessarily going to introduce a looser connection to all of your other friends. Thus, there’s a greater likelihood a weak tie will be exposed to new information or a job opportunity. This is thecrux of Granovetter’s argument: Weak ties can uniquely serve as bridges to other worlds and thus can pass on information or opportunities you have not heard about. We would stress that it’s not that weak ties per se find you jobs; it’s that weak ties are likely to be exposed to information or job listings you haven’t seen. Weak ties in and of themselves are not especially valuable; what is valuable is the breadth and reach of the network.
Reid Hoffman @ http://www.linkedin.com/in/reidhoffman