After living abroad in Jordan for nine months, I’ve learned that success is almost exclusively built on who you know. What Westerners call networking, clout, cronyism, or nepotism is fondly known in the Middle East as “wasta.” It’s used daily in a variety of ways. It’s used among people of all social circles to get things done.
Globally, wasta is a way of life.
We all rely on our connections to achieve certain goals. In fact, there have been many times in Jordan that my wasta has saved me time, energy, and even money. I’ve used it to get half-price entry into a Dead Sea resort and have reached out for affordable hotel deals when traveling to Aqaba!
Wasta feels like a secret weapon at times, opening locked doors and making things happen easily. But wasta isn’t an end in itself. It’s just the first part of a leadership equation that leads to success and positive influence.
WHO: When you’re trying to accomplish something, you might start by reaching out to who you know in your network. You may look for someone that could offer advice, insight, or help to take the first step. Yet who you know isn’t sustainable without additional knowledge and effort on your part.
WHAT: To move things forward, you have to invest hard work. You have to apply your skills based on what you know to maintain and build your connections and ultimately archive your goals. This is also the space to learn, grow, and stretch yourself to expand your knowledge and skills.
HOW: Combining your network with your skills and experience shapes how you grow and expand your leadership capacity. This is the leadership sweet spot. This is where you make your mark instead of simply relying on others to get things done.
One of my favorite things to do is to leverage my established network and ultimately expand it to others’ benefit.
This could be e-introducing a friend who is looking to move to a new city to someone I knew in college who lives there now. It could be helping someone break into a new field or get a promotion by connecting them with someone else I know who is looking to hire great talent.
When you’re open to sharing who and what you know with an attitude of enhancing connection, you operate with an abundance mentality. Too often we are fearful that others will get ahead. We react out of fear that triggers a scarcity mentality. Sadly, we believe that there is not “enough” of whatever we’re trying to control to go around.
Our leadership success centers around one central theme: The quality of our relationships.
Our relationships determine what gets done. They ultimately point back to our core values and overall character as a leader. While wasta is one part of this, relying solely on it for your success will shrink – not grow – your impact.
How will you allow an attitude of abundance lead you?
Create a great day,