Why is not important “what you know” but “who you know”

This week a study (http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=L12J7QBV – 4 December 2009) was published on why employees over 50 have a bad reputation with the co-workers.  The study was done by Tempo Team, HR interim company.

Reflecting on this article, I would like to toss some ideas around.

I would like to shed some light on this from the leaders of our large corporations and government.  These people are also employees and fall in this 50+ category.

On the plus side for hiring 50+ people, the study mentions

Business Savvy: Well judging by the recent bank crisis or even governments, I would assume that this statement does not really work…

Reliability: I looked up the term in Wikipedia: “In general, reliability (systemic def.) is the ability of a person or system to perform and maintain its functions in routine circumstances, as well as hostile or unexpected circumstances.”  The recent bank crisis as a well as political environment do not really follow this definition.

Loyalty: The average lifespan of a CEO or even a prime minister being less than 3 years (and that is being kind to them) which does nothing for loyalty.  Ever heard the term “take the money and run”. And yes, there are exceptions.

On the negative side the study mentions:

Ability to adapt: We are living a digital time where digital immigrants have trouble following (including myself).  However, those who do not even make it in to the immigration zone stand out even more.  From a personal study I have concluded that less than 5% of the CEOs of the BEL-20 (Belgian top companies) have a digital footprint (in any shape).  Even the lobbyist group for technology does not score much better (less than 30%).  I hear you saying that politicians have a big digital footprint.  Let me be clear, THEY do not update the facebook and other pages themselves, it is THEIR employees who do it for them.

Lack of flexibility:  Here I think our business leaders and even more the political world has a lot of flexibility and this in name of the shareholders or voters.

Low re-deployability: Well, that is an interesting point because going back to your roots is a mark of strength but so far out of reality…

So my conclusion is that being fifty plus really means “who you knows is much more important than what you know”!

I would love for you to react to my statements!


One Response to “Why is not important “what you know” but “who you know””

  1. ankarstock Says:


    isn’t the whole working environement about delivering results. If you would like to deliver on large, complex things there isn’t a single person capable of delivering that, there isn’t a person with all that knowledge.

    So, buy utilising the power of knowing who is the best for each part of the complex thing, you can deliver much better and more consistent.

    Think about building a house, have a competition between one super person, and a team of builders (carpenter, painter etc) and see who builds the best hous with the fewest hours.

    The same goes when leading a company, and these days you can ensure that you get the right people ny utilising your network and let people excell! This is so much more powerful than our old company tried to do it, having managers telling people HOW and WHAT to do things, rather than explaining what target we were looking ot acheive and then accept that the joint power delivers far superior brain power.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: