The Six Laws of Social Gravity


In his book Achieving Success Through Social Capital, Wayne Baker defined “resources available in and through personal and business networks” as individuals gaining access to resources, such as information, ideas, business leads, good will, trust and cooperation as a result of social capital.

As business-people in the optical industry, we all have found that relationship building inside the organization can be at times challenging, which is why individuals in our industry have learned to take time to develop business partnerships and strategic-level relationships.

Having thousands of friends on Facebook is not a singular solution, however. In our 21st century business world and in the optical industry, social capital is about the quality and not the quantity of those relationships.

If you want more influence in your organizations, relationships will help you get, according to Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt in their book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships (Talent Anarchy Productions, 2012). Lauritsen and Gerstandt summarize the six laws of social gravity as follows:

  1. Be open to connections. Be available to have lunch or coffee or agree to work on a special project, Lauritsen said. Social technologies such as LinkedIn can help people organize their connections.
  2. Get involved in meaningful activity. Because physical proximity is one way people build relationships, Gerstandt suggested that professionals look for ways to participate in activities such as business or community groups, professional associations and discussion groups on leading-edge initiatives and problem resolution.
  3. Always be authentic. People have a tendency to hide things at work, especially the those aspects that makes them unique. “You want to be normal, but you are not,” Gerstandt said. “You are unique. … Stop trying so hard to be normal,” he said. “Fly your freak flag. Authenticity is rooted in self-awareness. You have to know who you are.”
  4. Stay in touch. “Relationships don’t grow by themselves,” Lauritsen said. “They require tending.” He encouraged readers to make a plan to follow up with connections regularly in ways that are appropriate and meaningful to the other person.
  5. Use karma to your advantage. Find ways to help people solve problems, Lauritsen said, noting that “If you do good, good comes back to you.”
  6. Invest in connecting. Budget time to connect with people. “Invest in relationships and make them matter,” Gerstandt said.
As you have read these simple precepts, take a moment to reflect on them and review how you engage, involve and build relationships in your organization and with your partners inside and outside of the optical industry.

Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC