Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Introduction

In March 2015, as we handed over the keys of MSH-901 (our 1 BHK flat on campus) at the reception and walked off IIM Ahmedabad’s campus, I was quite skeptical about what Anurag had achieved from his 1 year MBA. He had opted out of placements and was returning to the same employer at the same salary. Was he crazy? Why the hell did he make a financial outlay of INR 40 lacs+? How could a Chartered Accountant be so oblivious to the concept of NPV and IRR?

All he did was smile. He waved his smartphone and said ‘Sonia, just give time to this phonebook’.

I really had no clue of what he said but I saw magic unfold over the next 2 years.

Today, when I look back at how far we have come in the cajobportal journey, thanks to the friends and ‘frenemies’ he met on campus, all I can also do is smile.

It’s not just true in some allegorical or metaphorical sense, but true in a very real, direct, and measurable sense – the present value of our network has eclipsed the financial outlay, by leaps and bounds.

Your network is your net worth

This quote by John C. Maxwell- – “Your network is your net worth” will have a profound impact on you. If not enough, go pick up the book by Porter Gale and you might end up enlightened

It’s not just about Money, Honey

Your social capital, or ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, is the most important asset in your portfolio.

When you are connected to people who share your interests and values, you are certainly poised to reach a higher level of success than you would on your own, be it faster promotions, higher bonuses, and strong performance reviews.

Therefore, I believe that your “net worth” will be determined, not by the millions in your bank account, but by the strong and enduring interpersonal safety net that will carry you through any financial calamity to greater output and personal fulfillment.

Why your network is also your net worth

Less Job Security than In The Past

Globalization, changes in digital technology, and a wavering economy, scores of corporate positions have become more contingent and less secure. Case in point is the recent bloodbath in the IT Sector and also with some startups. Whom do you approach when you are looking out?

Chicago Booth School Research confirms the importance of a diverse network. “Indeed, it might not be who or what you know that creates advantage, but rather more simply, who you become by dint of how you hang out—the disadvantaged hang out with folks just like themselves, while the advantaged engage folks of diverse opinion and practice.”

Employers Increasingly Turn To Internal Referrals

As companies resort to using their own workers to find new hires and thus save time and money, it lengthens the odds for job seekers without connections, especially among the long-term unemployed.

Technology Has Accelerated Connecting

Thanks to technology, we can do connect with people who are in sync with our personalities and passions. The means of social interaction online have become vastly improved, more focused, and more enjoyable ways, thus leading to accelerated networking

On a global level we’re four degrees apart, on a community level (e.g., fitness lovers) we’re three degrees apart, and on a niche level (e.g., love kite surfing) we’re two degrees apart.

It’s easier to find niche communities’ online, new relationships may be just a tweet away and existing relationships may hold more value than you realize.

Connections Increase Happiness

Interaction with people having similar values and passions also makes you happier.

When we find a common ground or situations that break down socioeconomic or demographic barriers, everything else dissipates

Gary Stix’s article in Scientific American titled “Your Brain on Facebook: Bigger Social Networks Expand the Size of Neural Networks” notes, “Lots of ‘friends’ drive the growth of gray matter in areas linked to processing social information.”

James Fowler, a professor at UC San Diego, stated in an interview with NPR, “We find that people at the center of the social network tend to be happier… We think the reason why is because those in the center are more susceptible to the waves of happiness that spread throughout the network.”

There is something that happens in groups that can catapult people in their lives in a way that was not happening before.

A young Chartered Accountant, born and brought up in Kolkata,  found this amazing change in her life as she shifted from a Big 4 firm in Chennai to an FMCG major in Mumbai. The community effect helped her regain on the lost blood haemoglobin levels, lose weight significantly (as she was surrounded by fitness freaks all over), gain confidence and indeed, become quite happier.

Caveat

“Truly effective networking requires more than ‘connections’ or ‘friends’; it requires cutting through clutter and focusing on what matters—real, mutually beneficial partnerships.”

It is difficult to cut through all the noise. The number of people who connect with us is daunting and as a result, it’s easy to lose our strategic focus.

Someone approaches us on social media and send a connect request. Our first response is to say ok. We end up with a huge network of people we don’t know and who offer us no value. It’s wiser to look carefully at their profiles to determine if you want that person in your network.

If you determine there is some commonality, then reply and set up some time to talk and initiate a relationship. The point is that the number of contacts in your online network is not nearly as important as the quality. One that builds on your passions and values, and connects you with others who share them

Summing Up

Your network is also your net worth, because eventually, you may wish to ponder upon what is life really about: head, heart or wallet?

Whether you chose to focus on your head, your heart or your wallet; remember, building and strengthening your network will help you improve your happiness, productivity, and true net worth

Focus on your passions, surround yourself with people that share your values and don’t let your social capital lie dormant. Reinvest it! And remember, your network is your net worth.

Thanks &  Regards

Sonia Singal – Founder: cajobportal.com – India’s first recruitment website exclusively for finance professionals