There is an unspoken concept in performance sport (and in the wider world of work) that it’s not what you know it’s who you know. It’s seems incredibly unfair doesn’t it, that you spend all this time learning and researching knowledge only for you to be denied an opportunity by someone else because they happen to know someone else.

The first, and perhaps the most common reaction, is for people to wave their arms in exasperation, normally slapping their thighs in animated disgust that the cherished prize of academic omniscience isn’t considered the almighty superpower that crushes all others when an employer thinks about recruiting someone.

The second, much rarer reaction, is a recognition of this concept and as useful and a willingness to run with it. This response is the preserve of people who value human relationships. At its simplest level, when you’re poring over an Excel spreadsheet that is buckling under your awesome macros, there are humans behind those measurements. Those humans are emotive, social and tribalistic beings who have a history of surviving because they were emotive, social and tribalistic beings. Relationships within a team setting are everything. If you can’t trust someone (you don’t need to like them, by the way) you are unlikely to engage them in work; however people engaging with other people is how stuff gets done.
The first steps in connecting with people can feel daunting – so why not simply reconnect with someone you already know and take it from there!


Invest in your development – by joining the Graduate Membership and taking part in the next series of mini-challenges focused on networking to help you move forward in your career.

About steveingham

Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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