Steve Fenton

Swinging the balance in favour of what you know

We have all heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. It seems to have came about in 1914 in “The Electrical Worker” and has become more and more common ever since.

Quite often, this statement is made in frustration by people who feel that their skills or knowledge are being overlooked in favour of others with lesser talents, but better connections. Yes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is the subtle way of charging someone with nepotism. This is typically an exaggerated version of the truth. Almost everybody would take strong advice from someone they trust and who has a good track record above any advice from someone they don’t know very well.

If, however, you feel like you are at the sharp end of the stick, here is the simplest and most effective way to handle the situation: start building relationships with the people who are ignoring your advice. If you are being passed over simply because you haven’t got the same connections as someone else, start making those connections. It is very rare to find that people don’t want to build a professional relationship with you and if you do find this, it may well be time to move on.

Once you’ve balanced out the “who you know” aspect, you’ll find that the “what you know” becomes the most important thing once again.

Written by Steve Fenton on