It’s all a matter of who we know. We’ve all heard it said and many of us have seen what a difference it makes, knowing the ‘right’ people. But let’s face it, who we know is merely the tip of the iceberg- and if we aren’t paying close attention, what lies beneath the surface just might sink our efforts.
In the course of my business life I have met and befriended many folks, some that are considered "important", "right", "well connected" and all that. Rest assured they have provided access to opportunities that would have required more effort on my part (without them), but what matters most is not what they have given me, but what they see in me. That last part required effort on my part and the return was well worth the effort expended.
Relationships matter; we do not live in a vacuum and most certainly we cannot do everything alone. We are dependent upon others to do what we cannot do, to help us do what we can do, to introduce us to others who can guide or help us- the list goes on. So, who you know can be a great benefit. But once the connection is made the onus shifts from who you know to what you are known for.
Being known as the one who is always asking for something is not going to win us a lot of influence and support. Those to whom we reach out are not inclined to continue the philanthropy unless we are genuinely interested in giving in return. I am not advocating a scorecard; I loathe the concept. I am suggesting that each of us has much to offer and that it is vital that we are as willing to give as we are to receive; it is a sound basis for a continuing relationship.
It does matter who you know. But it’s much more than that; it’s about how you are known and what you are known for. Rather than seeking a one shot deal, invest in the long term. The person that can help you today may need your help tomorrow, not to mention just how influential they may be in matters far beyond that which brings you to them in the first place.