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If social networks are information superhighways, social capital is the resulting value of these connections based on the relationships between senders and receivers — the degree of trust, friendship, shared experiences and “give-and-give” that surface over time, says Zara Larsen, founder and president of The Larsen Group, a consulting firm dedicated to helping others unleash their potential through transformational change.
Social capital produces influence and speed, not just movement of data. Like the connection between mentors and protégés, social capital doesn’t involve payment, yet is worth its weight in proverbial gold over time. Mastering social capital is particularly critical for people who lead change. This applies to the reverse mortgage industry, whether you’re a solo loan officer or part of a larger HECM enterprise.
In one sense, social capital sounds a lot like Management 101 combined with Introduction to Psychology — or Robert Fulghum’s classic, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In essence, it’s about how we can learn to “play well with others”. The components of social capital include:
- Bonding. How do you build trust with your reverse mortgage prospects and clients? With your colleagues? With potential collaborators and referral resources in aligned fields? Among the members of the communities you serve?
- Bridging. How can you connect people across and through their differences to enable sharing? What strategies will melt perceived barriers to such communication?
- Scaling. How can you enhance bonding so that it becomes a Lego-like tool for building larger communities and networks that support senior issues involving health, housing and finances?
Reciprocity is key, says Larsen. Not in the usual sense of, “I give you something and then you give me something back.” She defines reciprocity as, “Give, give give,” knowing that at some future point it will effect social movement and return to you as social capital when you need it.
Our recent post, How to Be A Top Resolver suggests a number of ways reverse mortgage professionals can connect more deeply with clients, colleagues and staff members in order to build social capital. The more you meet others from a caring heart, the greater your social wealth. And that, of course, leads to other kinds of wealth, for seniors and for those who serve them.
Best post of ANY kind I’ve read in quite a while – thanks, Amara.
Wow, Jim! Thank you so much. I’m honored to be of service, and continue to encourage blog readers to let Shannon or me know your suggestions for future topics you;d like us to explore.
As usual, taking a great topic and making specific applications to our industry changes it into a useful one. As to your readers, of the two, useful is better.
Jeff Olson covers the general principle in his book, The Slight Edge. Under section in chapter 2 on Life Wisdom he quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson: “‘Do the thing and you’ll have the power.'”
Jeff then goes on to use the examples, Michael Jordan not stop practicing when he did not making his high school basketball team as a sophomore, Babe Ruth continuing to bat despite his strike out records, Abraham Lincoln not giving up despite his loss record in elections, and Edison’s statement that about his numerous failures that he had not failed but “discovered ten thousand ways that don’t work.”
Whether one calls it giving or doing the thing, social capital can only come through repetition despite the lack of the desired result.
You are a great writer but your applications help us understand how you see the article work in our little industry.
Hi Cynic ~
I always appreciate your feedback! Thanks ~