Greensilkmuse's Blog


Right Place, Right Time

Posted in Discovery by greensilkmuse on April 25, 2010

One of my most memorable trips was to New Mexico.  I visited Santa Fe and took the high road to Taos.   It is some of the most beautiful country there is.  One particularly memorable moment was not so beautiful, however.  It was the time we ran out of gas.

My ex and I were headed from Santa Fe down to Albuquerque in a rental car.  The car was very low on gas and we hadn’t realized how far we’d need to travel before coming to a gas station.  We were riding on “E”.  “It isn’t really empty when the gas gauge hits ‘E’”, he said.  That may be.  Problem is there is no way of telling just how much gas is left.

Finally, we came upon a gas station. It was located on the other side of the road from us.  As we headed down the highway towards it, the car’s power suddenly died.  The engine shut down.   I managed to steer the car towards the gas station and we were able to glide up to the pump.  Amazing, really.   That gas station was in the right place at the right time for us.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to be in the right place at the right time, myself.  That’s the crux of business development.   In real estate, the key to success is “location, location, location.”  Timing is the variable function …entirely up to the customer.  For those of us without storefronts, location is about visibility.  Can someone see you enough to remember you when the time is right?  Are you in the right places to be seen? These days that includes web presence as well as physical presence.  

Say you have found good location — you are getting visibility and you’re available when others need you.  Just because you are there, doesn’t mean someone will reach out to you for help.  I’ve been reading books, articles, and research on how networks form social capital.  A key point made is that successful people position themselves well in networks – they see the gaps and perform the service of filling them. In so doing, they create value – and others in the network see the value. 

For someone new to the organization, trying to establish him- or herself, a sponsor can help to accelerate the development of the network.  The sponsor tells others that the newcomer is credible and “safe”.  For those of us looking for business, the “sponsor” is the referral.  It heightens not only the chance of being in the right place in the right time, but also the likelihood of being chosen.

With this in mind, I’ve started to design a workshop on leveraging social capital.  The workshop will explore everything from the structure of networks to their role in power and influence in organizations.  I used to think that “it’s who you know” is an elitist and political power play.  I thought it was wrong that people should get ahead on the basis of who they know rather than what they know.   I’ve since come to understand that these two things – who you know and what you know – are not mutually exclusive.  If people are going to want to work with you, you need to have some substance – some real capability.  They also need to know you exist.  So that, like the one gas station situated on that long stretch of road, you are in the right place at the right time.  

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