Advance Performance | The Value of Social Capital
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The Value of Social Capital

The Value of Social Capital

Many organisations promote the “superchicken model” for success where they value the star performers above other employees. Margaret Hefferman argues the best ideas, creativity and results are achieved in teams where every individual’s effort is valued.

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In her recent TED Talk, entrepreneur and Chief Executive Margaret Hefferman explores the disastrous results of the “superchicken model” experiment and how this plays out in business.

Hefferman explains in her talk that modern culture is focused on competition and striving to be the best resulting in a loss of social cohesion, whereas in groups that are highly attuned and sensitive to each other, ideas can flow and grow. She has spent years studying social cohesion in teams with some fascinating results. Her key finding from her research is the need for social capital in teams:  “Social capital is the reliance and interdependency that builds trust

Social capital ensures that teams and companies gain momentum. The longer a team has in time to build this trust building openness, respect, and interdependency the greater the development of everyone involved.

The talk is a result of Hefferman’s book A Bigger Prize: When No One Wins Unless Everyone Wins which was first published in 2014. It considers her studies of different teams, communities and organisations which are finding creative, supportive ways to enhance social cohesion – working together to succeed – as opposed to ultimate competitiveness.  She interviewed people who have succeeded in promoting social capital in ultra-competitive worlds of music, science, sport and business.  These individuals have proven success in valuing everyone to create, develop ideas, promote technology and achieve team momentum.

Hefferman’s ideas support Advance Performance’s courses on teamwork and leadership where we teach that every individual’s contribution needs to be valued to achieve the best results.  Interestingly, her new book links well to our Peak Performance material.  Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes  reveals how organisations can make huge changes with surprisingly small steps and how these small steps can create a strong and successful valued company culture.

As Margaret Hefferman says in her talk: “We need everybody, because it is only when we accept that everybody has value that we will liberate the energy and imagination and momentum we need to create the best beyond measure.