Is Reaching Success More About WHAT You Know or WHO You Know?

From the title itself, you can tell reaching success has to be one way or the other linked to the verb “to know” whether it means acquiring and having the knowledge or being connected to a person of influence. When I decided launching my company at Act2be.com in helping people and organizations find the Expert they need in sales, management, leadership, fitness and relationships in the US,  in France, and in Africa, one of the first actions I did take was to check what I knew about the targeted market, about the industry, and about the competition. At my very first business approach, the discussion was 90% about who do you know that I need to know and 20% about what is that I want to offer.

Last week-end I had a business meeting at my house with a person of influence in one of the main beverage company in Cameroon (Africa) and I introduced my business and we talked about how to serve that company business interests. Again, the discussion turned around who will give credit to  my service.

When I was Organizational Leader few years ago at the Southwestern Company, the main focus when prospecting, approaching, and signing up people was in getting names. With names it was lot easier to get other names, to sign up more deals, and to make more money.

Yesterday, I was having a phone conversation with a long-time friend of mine that I haven’t heard from since college. He works as account executive for a bank in Paris (France) today and when I asked him how he made it there he said at the job interview there were five other applicants with pretty much the same background but none of the others had an inside connection.

All those to say that, I believe education and knowledge is accessible to all. Whatever you do, whatever business you come up with today, someone else can reproduce it beat you on your market. But what can keep you on a safe seat and take you to success at whatever you can do or don’t know what to do but can learn how to do, is the level of influence people you know and the strength of the relationships you built with those people.

Is knowledge power? I personally don’t think so. I think relationship is power. What do you think?

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  1. #1 by Yacine on October 21, 2010 - 6:25 am

    I think That both are important in theory, but in practice, knowing important people is more worthy. As an example, look at all those politicians, actors, CEOs…they are often the son or the daughter of someone already influancual in thé business, you Know why!

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