I’m at Louisiana SHRM in New Orleans, watching the opening keynote from Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt, the Talent Anarchy duo. Jason is the more corporate looking, and Joe is the angry looking one. They’ve been brought in to #LASHRM to do an intervention to spread their vision. They believe that getting on in HR and in life is not what you know but who you know, and how you harness relationships. It’s a statement I strongly believe in.
Jason starts recounting a story about how he scored an Executive HR Job, meeting someone on a golf course, playing bad golf and following up with beer. His golfing partner for the day Chris took Jasons CV to his wife who did the hiring and he got the job. Nothing unusual in this story but it is a reminder of how connections create opportunity. It wasn’t what Jason knew that got him the job, it was his introduction to a man who knew a man.
relationships are powerful, they are portals of opportunity. You should be working intentionally on your relationships rather than hoping they come along by accident. Opportunity shouldn’t just be down to chance. They are too important, and the divide between personal and professional are blurring. Joe describes these relationships as social capital.
Social capital is the value that comes out of your relationships, and this needs to be mutual. Jason explains that building the right network is like turning up to work with a posse. when you need something, you ask your posse first, likewise you are ready for when your posse calls on you. Jason talks about mentally mapping out what your posse needs to look like, and to start building networks intentionally, filling the gaps for what you need, and what you can offer to others. It’s acquaintances rather than close friends who bring new thinking. Joe explains that close friends are the ones you can rely on, but you tend to group with people who know similar things, but strangers bring something new to the party. For the first time, how I network makes sense, although it has always been accidental. These guys make a lot of sense.
Social technology has made reaching acquaintances easy, but it is not all about numbers. Size of network is important, but it needs to overlap with quality. If you can’t pick up a phone to someone and talk, then they might be your friend or follower, but they are not in your posee.
Jason presented the 6 laws of social gravity. They are:
1: Be open to connections. It’s not a one way street. Are you making yourself open to others. Are you creating opportunities to connect and talk with people. Jason tells how his HR team always ate in the staff canteen, rather than hiding at their desk. This meant people could connect without an appointment.
2: Get involved in meaningful activity. Shared space is finding things you all care about and work on them. Joe talks about how good leaders create opportunities for people to be involved and connect.
3: Always be authentic. Joe talks about flying your freak flag. Be different, and don’t be afraid to be different. If we all think and say the same things, then some of us are going to be irrelevant. flying your freak flag and being unique puts you in a category of one, that way you stand out and never get forgotten.
4: Stay in touch. Ask lots of questions, listen, find commonalities,take notes and follow up. Share specific content with specific people. Make sharing personal not broadcast. Find ways to follow up and stay on the radar.
5: Use karma to your advantage. If you do good things, good things happen to you. Human beings are wired to reciprocate. People in your posse are waiting for an opportunity to return favors. think of your network as a bank and make investments of goodwill, and it will come back. don’t just help those who can obviously help you.
6: Invest in connecting. Build your network when you don’t need it, because crisis building rarely works. When the posse is in place, help is on hand when you need it, whether that is advice, connections or anything else. You get what you have invested in.
These guys are geniuses. Talent Anarchy make sense of my network. You can get a copy of the book Social Gravity. It is going to be my Bible.