The Secret Edge to Succeed in Life

“Guanxi”

CW Fong

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As you become more worldly, it will dawn on you that in life, it is often who you know that matters. Not what you know. This is because opportunities do not always go to the most qualified, but to whomever the decision-maker thinks is the most qualified. This is why guanxi matters.

Guanxi refers to the connection and relationship you have that can be used to open doors for opportunities. As such, a person who has guanxi is in a better position to succeed as the person will have an edge over those who lack it.

Like most things in life, the concept of guanxi is well known but poorly understood. To leverage the concept of guanxi, you must understand the three levels of guanxi.

At the lowest level, guanxi exists as a transactional relationship between you and the target. At this level, you cannot expect any ‘help’ from the target unless you have something to offer in exchange. This level of guanxi usually occurs when you try to build a relationship with the target when the latter is already in a position of influence. Hence, whatever you do, the target will always suspect the real motive behind it and will reciprocate accordingly.

The next level of guanxi is less transactional and is based on what I term “owed” favors. Here, you can expect the target to help you when it is convenient for him to do so. In this instance, you are likely to have worked with the target before he assumed his position of influence and, in one way or another, aided the target in building his career. As you helped the target before he assumed his position of influence, your actions appear less contrived.

The next and highest level of guanxi is non-transactional and it is based on mutual trust and respect. At this level, you can expect the target to help you even if it is at his expense. This sort of guanxi cannot be built overnight and is cultivated over many years. It is likely that you knew the target when he was starting out and you grew with him. As the target was not in a position to offer you anything then, your actions are seen as sincere and altruistic.

In short, guanxi is an important tool business and life tool. Like any strategic edge, it cannot be developed overnight. To build guanxi, you must diligently and deliberately work at cultivating it long before you need it. The time to start is now.

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CW Fong

I blog therefore I am. Passionate about #Singapore, #Leadership, #PublicRelations, #SocialMedia, #Marketing, and #PersonalDevelopment. Above all, I do no evil