In my mission to encourage everyone to get away from their computers and smartphones to take time to build relationships over coffee, lunch or a walk, I am constantly seeing proof of how critical this is to create a winning business or career. Just today, The New York Times had a front page article, A Circle of Tech: Collect Payout, Do a Start-Up. On the surface, it was a story about how Facebook, PayPal and a few others, have spawned so many successful start-ups due to the earnings and experience early employees gain. Read it carefully and you will discover that it was really about the relationships and connections which were formed among the people working at these companies – relationships which continued when they went on to future jobs or to start new businesses.
The top people creating social media companies are not using social media for the important, truly valuable connections. They are doing it the old fashioned way – in person meetings, face-to-face – really getting to know each other. You name them – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, Matt Cohler, employee No. 7 at Facebook, who is now a venture capitalist, Peter Thiel, one of PayPal’s founders, and many more, continue their successful track records with the support of the people that have known them from the beginning of their careers. Their new ventures and new opportunities hinge on the live networks of people who they trust, which only comes from investing time in relationships.
Ruchi Sanghvi, sadly the only woman mentioned in the article, was the first woman on Facebook’s engineering team and recently sold her tech start-up Cove to Dropbox. She had this to say: “It’s extremely useful to have that network, not just for tangible things like funding and talent but also emotional support.” She added, ” Just having those friends has been incredibly important.” By the way, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, attended Ms. Sanghvi’s wedding in India, when she married fellow Facebook engineer, Aditya Agarwal.” Another reward is that professional relationships expand into personal friendships and more.
This is the untold story of thousands and thousands of successful people no matter what industry or profession they are in – not just the tech world. Yes, education is important. Yes, experience is important. But it’s true live relationships that make all the difference in where you take that education and experience. So stop reading this blog and think about who in your life you haven’t been in touch with in awhile. Make that list and start reconnecting with them. When you sit down and talk to them, be sure to ask them what they are doing. Find out how you can help them. Make it about them, not you. Building a relationship comes from giving first. Your reward comes later. — Leslie Grossman, www.lesliegrossmanleadership.com, Chief Connections Officer, Cojourneo.