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Social Capital - A Father Daughter Talk

I'm not a scientist. I don't get a kick out of doing research to find out what environmental conditions promote a healthy fruit fly population, but I do like to look at things in ways that most people don't. Take yesterday as an example, when my 7 year old daughter asked me why there is always Diet Mt. Dew in the house for her mom and dad to drink, when on most days there is nothing but water for her and her brother.

Of course, a typical answer would be, "because you and your brother drink up all the juice/milk/kool-aid as soon as it's brought into the house." In fact, that's what my wife said, but my answer was completely different.

"Isn't cool that your mother and I have the money to buy Diet Dew, whenever we are running low?" I said.

My daughter gave me a crazy look but said nothing, "It's because we have the monetary capitol, or money, to make the purchase, but you have the ability to get stuff bought for you too, it's called social capital."

"Oh, God." My wife groaned. (yes I talk about social media at home too!)

"You see Katie, you have the ability to take the initiative to do things around the house. To contribute to the family and be part of the team. Each time you do something to help out around the house you get something worth more than money, it's called social capital.

Social capital can then be used to influence your mom and I to do stuff for you, like buy you gum (her favorite thing in the world). In fact you can get so much social capital that when you do something bad, that would normally get you grounded, you'll get nothing more than a slap on the wrist."

I wasn't really sure if she got the gist of what I was saying but not an hour later, while I was sitting in my office, she brought me a drink. Later, without being asked, she starting putting away the dishes and even cleaned up after dinner.

I was so proud of her! I gave her big hug and said, "See, that's social capital!"

"Can I have some gum now?" She asked.

"Katie, while it's okay to ask for the "sale" you use less of your social capital when you don't ask."

"Huh."

"Okay, let's say that you have 10 social capital bucks and you ask me to buy gum that costs 1 social capital buck, you are then left with 9 bucks. But, because I feel so impressed about what you've done and I feel so good about rewarding you, that same pack of gum wouldn't cost you anything, all because you didn't ask for it!"

Don't worry, I bought her the gum and I assure you, it didn't cost her one social dime!

Conclusion

In teaching my daughter the value of doing things for other people, I taught her a valuable lesson, one that she won't soon forget. But, let's take a look at your dealership, what are you doing to earn social capital? I assure you, what I taught my daughter will work for you as well, after all social capitol is the new currency and relationships run our new social economy.

I know it's a stretch for any business, and one exceptionally tough for a dealership to grasp, but the more you're able to give to your community the more you will get in return. If you work to engage your community in a positive manner the less you will have to pitch yourself because people will feel good about sending people to buy from you, after all you will be "One of Us", instead of the dreaded "One of Them."

Views: 8

Tags: capitol, media, social

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Comment by David Johnson on March 26, 2010 at 8:32am
Thank you Rob! I figured if Katie understood what I was yapping about then everybody else should be able to.
Comment by Rob Hagen on March 26, 2010 at 8:22am
Great story Dave!

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