Social capital is gained slowly over time; therefore, we must be mindful of how we spend it. In my experience, one of the quickest ways to deplete social equity is through making unrequested introductions. These are introductions where one party is connected to another without permission or a request to be introduced.

For instance, let's create a scenario of the single opt-in connection that most people do. In this case, I, George, am the connector introducing Dave to Brett. While chatting with Dave, I realized that Brett would be a great person for Dave to speak with. Dave knows I'm making the introduction. I introduce both connections via email and drop off the thread. In this scenario, I've dumped a connection on Brett. This connection may not be mutually beneficial. Brett might lack time or interest to connect with Dave. It's here that I, the connector, have lost social capital.

Let's do this again using a double opt-in connection. I realize Dave should speak to Brett. First, I ask Dave if he would like an introduction. Dave tells me yes, he would. I tell Dave I'll check with Brett and follow up with him shortly. I then go to Brett and explain the opportunity I see for him to connect with Dave. Brett agrees to connect with Dave, and I make the email introduction. This type of connection builds social capital because each party sees the care I'm giving to introducing my two connections.

About the Author

I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world.

I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.

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