My father had passed away intestate. We had to give his bank a succession certificate from the court to receive his investments. Even after getting this certificate from us, the concerned bank kept finding ways to fob us off. The branch manager had an unending list of excuses –

–         Server is down

–         Staff is on vacation

–         Need to consult Regional office / Central Office

–         Month-end /year-end

–         etc. etc. etc.

We ran around for more than three months but did not get our dues!

Finally, out of frustration, I asked someone to interject on my behalf and received, in half a day, what I had not managed to get in three months.

Let me now share that my father had retired from the Reserve Bank of India. The person who interjected on my behalf was RBI’s representative on this bank’s board. I had indirect access to the senior-most level of the hierarchy, but I did not seek help right from the beginning. My behavior defied logic. Looking back, I know that subliminally, I consider capitalizing on relationships as exploiting them, taking advantage of them, dirty!

Having been associated with initiatives to foster gender diversity for a long time, I know that this behavior is common to women. While men rely on relationships to open doors for them, women view it as something underhand. It is driven at least partly by our societal conditioning.

I urge you (and me!) to consciously remember that the human psyche likes to deal with the familiar. People like working with people they know and trust. There is nothing dirty in success by affiliation. After all, we win affiliations by adding value to our ecosystems. Sometimes, we inherit them, like in my example above.

If you are among those, who find it difficult to leverage relationships, take a small step and ask for a recommendation from your current/previous boss on ‘LinkedIn’.