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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2008 - issue > People Manager

Meaningful Relationships at Work

C. Mahalingam
Friday, May 30, 2008
C. Mahalingam
‘Social Capital’ is the name of the game; and its importance is being realized increasingly across organizations today. Social capital refers to a strong network of relationships that help build the human capital of an organization. Social capital builds trust and collaboration between individuals and teams and makes accomplishment of organizational goals easier with better teamwork. It also helps in leveraging the complementary talent people bring with them. In a complex work world, individual talent can take one to a certain distance, but network and relationships are clearly the sure-fire ways to success. While organizations can provide forums and avenues for networking and collaboration, it also depends pretty much on the individual’s initiative and proactive reaching out.

Welcome to the Circle of Network Influence:
Need for networking does not require much emphasis. Even when people are working remotely and are in a virtual setup, the need for networking does not disappear. It perhaps increases. Stephen Covey talked about the ‘circle of influence’ and ‘circle of concern’ while discussing the first habit called ‘being proactive.’ While most of us have some understanding of the significance of operating within our circle of influence rather than circle of concern, it is not enough. The new mantra is leveraging the ‘circle of network influence’. In doing so, you are looking for help, support, information, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing from beyond your immediate circle of colleagues and friends and tap into the network of their friends and colleagues. The benefits for the individual, team, and the organization in building meaningful relationships at work can be enormous. By the same token, I would also say that a large part of this benefit remains untapped!
In the next few paragraphs, let us look at the conditions that managers and organizations can create to make networking possible for people.

Conditions for Creating Meaningful Network of Relationships:
1. Trust: The first and foremost condition to be created to make the network of meaningful relationships flourish is trust. Relationships thrive in an atmosphere of trust. The management Guru and well-known futurologist, Charles Handy, wrote a brilliant piece in the May/June 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review an exceptional article titled “Trust and the Virtual Organization”. His observations in this article include:
* By trust, organizations really mean confidence, a confidence in someone’s competence and in his or her commitment to a goal. Define the goal, and the individual or the team can be left to get on with it.
* Trust demands learning. An organizational architecture made up of relatively independent and constant groupings pushes the organization toward the sort of federal structure that is becoming more common everywhere.

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