People matter. That’s really it. When it comes down to what gives true meaning to your life, I can assure you that it will always come down to the people you care about most. Social capital is an interesting concept and one we don’t often talk about. The term ‘capital’ generally refers to the financial value of assets; be they cash, equipment or property that is acquired by the business. Social Capital, however, refers to the value of the individuals, their connections, their culture and the intangibles like cooperation, compassion, innovation and trust.
One study in 2011 by Shawn Achor, demonstrated that people who regularly provide social support for others “were not only more likely to be engaged at work than those who kept to themselves; they were 40% more likely to get a promotion.”[i] Building social capital also invokes the law of reciprocity, meaning when you build others up, they reciprocate that generosity and kindness forwards, which positively impacts customers, suppliers and the wider community.
Achieving your business objectives becomes much easier when utilising social capital. This means going above and beyond to demonstrate kindness, compassion and respect within your business. How could you bring a little more humanity into your workplace this week? It may be as simple as asking about a colleagues weekend or stepping in to help someone with a project.
In an article written by Barsade & Gibson, they say “The evidence is overwhelming that experiencing and expressing positive emotions and moods tends to enhance performance at individual, group and organisational levels.” Social Capital is all about who you know not what you know and is a powerful way to promote wellbeing in any business.
So as you go about your life, think of your friends, family and wider relationships as a valuable asset that can be cared for, nurtured and can apprecaite, just like any other asset. People are by far the best part of our lives (and sometimes the most challenging too) and have the ability to make the good times better and the hard times easier.
Chris Peterson, when asked to sum up his life’s work said “It’s simple – Other people matter.”
[i] Social Capital – Achor, Shawn (2011) Harvard Business Review online (https://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence)