In his 2008 book, “The Speed of Trust,” Stephen Covey wrote, “By behaving in ways that build trust with one, you build trust with many.” I would like to propose a new, forward-thinking mindset based on that principle that will help builders increase profitability, build influence for their brands or the brands they represent, and increase stability during an economic downturn: social capital.
Social capital is the positive value of human connection. It is the result of time and resources spent on building trust and cultivating commonalities in your diverse network of colleagues and customers. Social capital is a result of “banking on the come” and a mindset of giving over getting. Like financial capital, building social capital requires a clear sense of the long-term objective and a willingness to take consistent steps to get there.
In a world that is growing increasingly impersonal due to the use of technology, let’s reintroduce a personal approach that is unique and innovative within our industry. Utilizing this mindset, we can be authentic human beings who prioritize strong relationships through personal engagement. This allows us to humanize the advantages of the internet and cyber activities in a real and concrete way, leading to increased sales and brand awareness, both professionally and personally. Most of us have both a professional brand and a personal brand, whether we are aware of it or not.
[Related: 6 ways to use social capital to grow your business]
When asked how to build financial capital, most of us know a few steps to take to become financially responsible, but social capital, being a more recent term, may not be as regularly defined. In this column, we will look at different aspects of the social capitalist mindset and explore practical ways to begin growing your social capital.
One thing you can do now is to get involved with something that matters to those around you. This may be identifying where your top customers spend time professionally and investing there through memberships and sponsorships, or volunteering time and resources to a cause that is important to them. Get involved in things that matter to those important to your personal life, too. Maybe it’s a new workout class or cataloging the best new dive bars in town. Whatever it is, spend the next 90 days being more aware of how you can genuinely have a positive impact on those around you, and be amazed by the opportunities for social capital that you can nurture.
Sarah McDaniel is a rainmaker at Ferguson/BAC and a relationship marketing strategist. She can be reached at [email protected] or through her website, sarahfrancesmcdaniel.com. Check out her podcast, Social Capital Expert, on iTunes and additional media channels today!