Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cordial vs Cardinal Relationships

Cardinal: Of foremost importance; paramount: a cardinal rule; cardinal sins.
Cordial: Warm and sincere; friendly: a cordial greeting; cordial relations

A relationship with a neighbor may be cordial, friendly, often sincere.

But a relationship with a member of the cultural, media or corporate elite is usually cardinal: it can open doors that can simply not be opened any other way.

Most people are sociable, but very few people are political. This may be the reason why only 5% of LinkedIn users are active users (recruiters, headhunters, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, etc.).

Most people intuitively understand the adage "It's who you know." Yet, the real secret lies in the expression "Who's Who" (which also happens to be a publication listing all the important people in the world).

In other words, it's the quality of your connections, not the quantity.

(A brilliant book to read is The 20/80 Individual, which shows how you can focus on the 20% of activities that will lead to 80% of desired results.)

This being said, is it possible that only through quantity can you get to quality?

In other words, there may be a lot of quality connections who could open doors for you, but they are second-degree connections that you can only access through your first-degree connections.

Which shows that perhaps the best strategy for getting high-quality connections is to multiply all kinds of connections, regardless of pre-conceived notions about which connections are high or low quality.

(Note: I use the expression "high-quality connection" here strictly in the sense of how useful a person can be to the advancement of another person's career, and not at all to assign any moral value or discriminate against any person, since I believe all humans are equal).