Knowledge is critical to any profession, and no doubt paramount to financial services as the industry evolves. But I am also a strong believer in building long-lasting relationships. Collaboration is important in many industries, but in the credit union world, industry leaders are very collaborative and strong networking skills are no longer optional. Social media and new media is giving us all an opportunity to share knowledge quickly, easily and deeply. But in order to effectively do that, one needs to know their audience well and certainly know their craft intimately.
If if were to weigh importance, I would say 60/40, with overall knowledge being the winner.
Chief Marketing Officer/Investor
I know that who you know is what saved Superior Credit Union In Lima Ohio.A board member in 1972. I was elected treas. in 1974. I started going to chapter meetings and ohio League seminars.I learned a lot by listening to managers and board members. In 1981 Our Superior Coach school bus factory was closed.I became full time treas. mgr. We had $4 million assets and 2,700 members. With only a high school education any no business knowledge,what I learned from other CEOs and chapter school helped us grow to a very successful credit union. We now have 44,000 members $352 million in assets 10 Branches 113 employees and are the largest real estate lender in three counties. My biggest success came from listening to CEOs who were successful.
This one struck a cord as I used to have an EVP who always said, " I don't have to know the answer to everything or every question, I just have to know who does have the answer". I found that to be sage advice over the years and believe a short, sweet, appropriate response to this particular question.
Corporate CU of Arizona and Arizona CU League
If you are stranded, all alone on a desert island, it may be "what you know" . . . but only to survive and ultimately get a message to "who you know" to come and rescue you. In the end - it is always the people that are most important in extending a hand and moving you along life's highway!
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
After managing credit union for over 42 years, I found that information is critical to make wise decisions.
I have also found the importance of knowing a lot of people, being involved in credit union association activities and reading the current credible publications. People with information and knowledge add to the "knowledge power base."
Both what you know and who you know contribute to effectiveness and success. I look first to my personal resources, but do not eschew reaching out for help from trusted and valued friends and colleagues.
What's MORE important? Yourself, and what you know, of course. Otherwise, strict reliance on others would be tantamount to a crutch that you could never discard. In fact, when asked for my opinion or help, I usually try to measure the depth of self-reliance by asking, "how would you proceed?".
Hawaii State FCU
I believe who you know is more important than what you know. Building and nurturing relationships is key to our success in life and in our careers. Always remember, it’s who you know that taught you what you know. Invest time in developing relationships in all areas of your life. The people you meet along the way will help you learn what you need to know.
Speaker, Author, Gen Y Expert
Who you know may be able to open a door for you but when the rubber meets the road it what you know that is more important, empty shirts don’t last too long. Throughout my career I have advanced based on my experience and knowledge and not by having some inside track. Rather than depending on who you know build you reputation and become known in the industry as someone who gets things done.
Main Street Financial FCU
What’s more important, who you know or what you know? At first thought, I have to say hands down… it’s who you know. I have to admit that more times than not, I’ll contract with this third party vendor because a colleague and friend of mine uses them. Or I’ll interview this applicant because a colleague and friend recommends him. Or, I’ll vote for this candidate because she is endorsed by my colleagues and friends. I got my job at SkyOne Federal Credit Union 24 years ago because of a recommendation from one CEO to another. I’ve been asked to serve on Boards, councils, and advisory groups because I knew others involved in the same organizations. But at the same time, I don’t think we would stick our necks out for each other, if we didn’t have the skills and the expertise to back us. What you know lends to your credibility. And, it’s that trust that keeps those established networks productive and long-lasting. So both - who you know is critical, but what you know will come through to others.
In my career both who I know and what I know have been equally important. Who you know will definitely open many doors for you. What you know will keep you in the building once that door is open.
I have mentioned before that relationships made in this industry are extremely important. It is equally important to continue to build your knowledge base; continue to learn. I cannot stress that enough. Learn from the people you meet in our industry, learn from everything you do and never be afraid to ask for clarity if you don’t understand something.
One won't work without the other! "Who" you know often opens doors, or gives you that opportunity to speak, to reach, and to impress with "what" you know!
Vice President Marketing/Business Development
Carolina Postal CU
They are both very important. Although a close choice, what you know is more important. The knowledge that one attains provides them with an understanding and the intellectual skills which will create many new and exciting opportunities. It also provides a high degree of self worth leading to confidence in doing other things. One of those things is the confidence in your ability to seek out more knowledge about things you don't yet understand. If you continue down this this path of increasing "what you know", it will always lead you to "who you know".
Senior Vice President/CFO
I guess I look at this in the sense if I am hiring someone. For a relationship manager position, I can train anyone to do the job, but I need to know before hand that I can trust them, they have a strong work ethic, and have the same values that I want to have on my business banking team. If I know someone who meets those qualities, but perhaps doesn’t have as great a resume as someone new to me, I’m going with trust (and the WHO) most of the time.
What you know and what you can bring to the table makes YOU someone people want to know.
I think WHO you know gets you in the door but WHAT you know is what gets you respect, trust, and the right attention.
You can be a supreme networker and be able to converse with anyone about the “surface stuff” but if you can’t hold a conversation beyond the basics, you probably won’t be remembered or respected.
The answer is both. Knowing someone means there is a familiarity, in a social context. However, it’s the what you know that is the leveraging piece to the who you know. If you’re well known, but do not know much, it is not helpful. If you know a lot but no one knows you, how will you get to where you want to be?
The Crash Network is a grassroots organization of over 150 young credit union professionals catalyzing the industry through meetups, mentorships, online collaboration, and development projects.