Defeating the Crabs in a Barrel Syndrome Your Net Worth is your Network

Author: Dave Williams


This is the last in the three-part series on conquering the Crabs in a Barrel Syndrome.

How do we battle the zero-sum game in an eat or be eaten, step or be stepped upon barrel? With centuries of business DNA constructed on the primal fight or flight and combat among competitors instinct, adjusting to a battlefield ⚔ where cooperation and coopetition might be the answer could feel like handcuffing all eight of your legs to the bottom of the barrel and throwing away the key. But hear me out.

As the uncertainty of everything becomes the new normal, it may be worth considering your net worth as being directly proportional to the strength of your network. Can helping other crabs get to a better place be a strategic ladder? Of course, there’s Corporate Social Responsibility and charity, but these slide perilously close to the self-serving drop-box of marketing and old-fashioned networking. Can your business benefit from having a “Chief Friendship Officer”? Maybe we take a step back in civilization to find when individual stability relied on fortifying the tribe. Or see where some people are currently embracing it. Check out the strategy of Augusto Carneiro, Chief Friendship Officer for his coffee company, Nossa Familia, here to see how he creates the love in the core values of his business.

More recently, before the digital divide tied us to airborne signals, wireless routers and servers in locations unknown, networking was essentially hobnobbing, toast-making 🍷 and looking the part. Back then, 4G was the equally invisible social ladders we had to climb to get connected.

Today, networking refers to the exponentially evolving links that connect us, information and devices through hardware, software and ever-increasing Gs. Degrees of human separation are decreasing by the minute. Facebook, for example, went from a campus network in 2004 to its 2021 Q1 of 2.89 billion active monthly users. Chances are you’re one of them. Increasing connectivity also means that s#it 💩 can go viral and even reach pandemic proportions before you can say vaccine 💉.

The past 18 months have made it microscopically 🔬 but undeniably clear that current measures of success rely on degrees of predictability and systems that bend to management. It may be some time before those algorithms return. While waiting, remember that neither the power of human relationships, collective strength, nor empathy has ever appeared on a balance sheet. But neither have a sense of security, gross or net friendships, nor the fact that we’re even alive. Let’s be friends this year.

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