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Why “Who You Know” Beats “What You Know”

Why “Who You Know” Beats “What You Know”

Think for a second about how most first-world education is set up: it’s often about what you know, meaning the quantity of concepts. This is often why students ask “Is this on the test?” They want to be sure about what they know: is it the right mix of what they are supposed to know?

Even outside of school, students are often encouraged to read more and pick up new skills. It becomes increasingly about quantity. It can lead to a culture of overscheduled kids and anxious parents.[1]

Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss have addressed this in a podcast episode: there are achievement cultures and fulfillment cultures.[2] Achievement cultures are focused on quantity of tasks or goals achieved; the number matters more than almost anything else. Fulfillment cultures can be more about personal contentment, growth, happiness, etc. — and less about hitting a specific number.

America and many first-world countries are largely achievement cultures, so we focus a good deal on what we know. What if that’s the wrong approach?

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Why “who you know” matters more

What about knowing more people? And what about knowing the right people?

    Dealing with other human beings is a huge part of what most of us do, whether you work in a call center, sell real estate, or create marketing solutions for small businesses.

    How we get along with others is often the greatest indicator of success. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has even warned other leaders of hiring “the brilliant jerk” — someone who does well on paper with goals and numbers, but has limited likability and alienates teammates.[3]

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    The bottom line is that people around you affect you: they can make you happier, healthier, and more successful — or the opposite. Based on the research from Nicholas Christakis at Yale, most of this influence is passive and gradual. You may not even notice it as it’s happening.[4] But over time, you become a reflection of those you spend time with. Understanding who is in your immediate network, and whether they’re a good addition or toxic, is important.

      At a deeper professional level, one of the more successful connectors and networkers in Silicon Valley — a huge business hub right now — is Adam Rifkin, and he organizes 106 Mile Meetups once a month.[5] These have become premier technical events for engineers and coders, and often people get new jobs directly from these events.

      It’s more about who you know — and making sure those are the right people — than what you know.

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      How to get to know the right people

      There are a million articles online about better networking and first impressions, so we won’t go down those routes. You’ve probably heard a lot of that advice about eye contact and only discussing yourself 20% of the time (most people flip this and discuss themselves 80% of the time).

      Instead, consider some of these approaches:

      • Thank the people around you. This shows appreciation for their efforts, and you also remind yourself how blessed you are and feel better in the process. Hearing “thanks” from others genuinely strengthens most relationships.
      • Give more than you get. In fact, trying to “take” (get numbers and job offers, etc.) in a networking context is much more of the failure path because no one likes a taker who never gives. Be the person who gives of him/herself at events and offers to help others or find resources. Most will remember and when it’s time for the opposite to happen, you have connections.
      • Ask for help, share thoughts. In short, be social. Connect. Discuss. Exchange ideas. Human beings are social animals. That’s one of our great advantages. Be that when you network and build connections.
      • Connect around your interest. One of the more successful networkers at Davos, Rich Stromback, has claimed that “99% of networking is a waste of time” because many people care too much about first impressions.[6] Care about trying to genuinely connect around your interests instead.
      • Realize this won’t be easy. Relationship-building takes time to do effectively. Jeff Goins has described this well: you need to be comfortable approaching the right people, become comfortable with rejection (very hard), understand nothing happens overnight despite what popular culture might show us, and be ready to approach some people with your fears because it will make you appear genuine and potentially draw you into them.

      Start to connect

      Imagine this fantasy situation: you know everything in the world. Every single fact. Every single piece of knowledge. All of it. If you were this person but didn’t know any other people, or didn’t know how to talk to people or connect with them, how far would you get?

      Not very far.

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      Now imagine you know 1/4 of what that person does. There is much you lack. You don’t know so many things but you know people and have relationships. Think that person will go far?

      Yes.

      It’s not what you know. It’s who. Cultivate connection.

      Reference

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      Brian Lee

      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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      Last Updated on November 24, 2020

      50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

      50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

      LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

      Job Search Experts

      You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

      1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

      2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

      3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

      4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

      5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

      Management Experts

      They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

      6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

      7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

      8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

      9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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      Productivity Experts

      By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

      10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

      11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

      12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

      13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

      Marketing Experts

      14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

      15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

      16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

      17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

      18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

      19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

      20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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      21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

      22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

      23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

      24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

      25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

      26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

      Personal Branding Experts

      Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

      Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

      27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

      28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

      Other Notable Experts to Follow

      29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

      30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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      31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

      32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

      33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

      34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

      35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

      36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

      37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

      38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

      39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

      40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

      41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

      42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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      43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

      44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

      45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

      46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

      47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

      48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

      49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

      50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

      These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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      Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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