These days, we are marketing. Our Copa Cabana II project is coming into fruition and we have been networking with buyers who are interested in the properties on offer. The marketing department has been having busy days, and Mr. Bisi is particularly the busiest one of them. While some of us have been a bit reluctant about our abilities to make pitches to potential investors, Mr. Bisi goes on the full throttle, leveraging on his network, making those calls and consequently delivering on his marketing goals.
What’s the difference between myself and Mr. Bisi? How does he have such an expansive network of people, and how does he manage to leverage on those networks to influence sales.
On some slow days, when there is little work to do at the office and the general pace of the day is on the lethargic side, I read books. These books are mostly self-improvement books, some of which were suggested to me by colleagues, others I discovered myself. When we have some time during the break, myself and Aisha would chat in between meals, and we sometimes take the liberty of having discussions around what we were currently reading.
Today I spoke to her about a book I was reading (The Accidental Public Servant by Nasir El-Rufai) and what I learned from a peculiar story in the book, and how much it relates to every sphere of our social lives, including our career.
In the book, the author shares a story about how a government official ingratiated himself with the presidency well enough to get himself and his brilliant ideas into the top tier of his agency.
Here’s what I learned:
You could be the most gifted person around, but if your social skills are abysmally poor, you may never get the opportunity to play in the big arena.
Since I started working at 1sqmbydantata I’ve been exposed to a lot of things, and the most important is coming to understand how far your Social Intelligence, rather than your IQ will take you.
According to Sean Foleno, social intelligence is a person’s competence to optimally understand one’s environment and react appropriately for socially successful conduct.
Working here has given me access to very important people, and what I have noticed as the common denominator amongst these people is how incredibly high their SQs are.
As a Nigerian living in Nigeria where you have very limited chances of making big breaks regardless of your intellectual capacity, your SQ is more important to you than any other thing.
The difference between two Nigerians from similar social backgrounds is often that one of them has better social intelligence over the other.
Almost in all cases, rich people who came from poor backgrounds became rich owing mostly to their very high SQ, which put them at positions where they came upon life-changing opportunities.
Aside from money, nothing improves your social currency more than your people skills. How well can you network? How quickly do you make strategic friends and acquaintances? How confident are you in new places? How do you sell yourself to people who are in the position to change your life, in a way so subtle that they don’t even notice?
Have you ever looked at someone breaking bread with the big boys, and you think: “this person is less gifted than I am, s/he didn’t particularly come from a better social, economic or academic background than mine”, and you’re wondering how they somehow managed to get this connection?
Here, we build the best houses, and give the best deals on real estate. Yet, we would not even have the opportunity to show this to people if we didn’t already have a good social standing (it’s a Dantata brand, hello?).
Mr. Bisi has learned, and understood the intricacies of socialization, and with that knowledge, has built himself a network base strong enough to bring reasonable value to him in the form of pecuniary gains and otherwise.
So here is the lesson: get yourself into the room. Stop being strangers with people who have the capacity to move you to the next level. People patronize people they know more than they patronize people that are more gifted in that specific area of need.