Principle #7. Social Investment: Why Social Support is Your Single Greatest Asset
a. The Harvard Men Study: Researchers followed 268 men (all Harvard graduates) since the late 1930’s for 70+ years and looked at what distinguished the happiest and most successful from the rest. The chief researcher offered one word that made the difference: Love! The findings led to the simple, powerful fact that our social relationships with other people matter more than anything else in the world! It’s that simple. In fact, happiness predicted career achievement and income. The deeper and wider our “communities” of friends, colleagues at work, relatives, and others, the more resilient, productive, and happy we are. The need for social support is as vital as water and air to our surviving and thriving in a productive, happy world. For example, heart attack victims with social support are three times more likely to survive. Talk about an insurance policy.
b. Socially bonded employees work harder, have greater focus, can endure more, and are immune to turmoil. The positively interactive social group acts like a team turbo-booster. The more employees interact socially, the more energy teams and individuals have. MIT researchers studied a large population of IBM employees and found that the more socially connected ones performed better.
c. Vertical Couple: The most important work /social connection is between boss and employee (I’m guessing also the client-consultant relationship). Daniel Goleman calls this relationship the “vertical couple.” This basic unit of the organization makes the difference in whether an employee is happy, engaged, and productive. It should be call the vital couple!
d. Investing in social capital at work—introduce people around to each other. Ask “what’s on the other side of your business card? What are you known for? Being a catalyst, the get it done guy, the inspirer, etc?” Send a “thank you” email to someone at work every day. Keep a gratitude journal. After a month it will become a positive habit…visible and infectious.