Here are four leadership questions I want you to wrestle with today, and I want you to be brutally honest with yourself.
#1: How many times this week have you bumped into an old acquaintance and said, “Hey, we should get together for coffee…”?
#2: How many times this week has a name flashed through your mind, and you found yourself thinking, “I should really connect with him…”?
#3: How many times this week have you heard about someone who is struggling a bit, and you thought, “I should drop her a line sometime…”?
#4: What is your typical track record when it comes to following up on these promptings?
Many leaders I know give themselves only a “C-“ grade on this relational component of their leadership. The reality is that these kinds of relational connections rarely make it into a leader’s “urgent” file, and so they just fade away off the radar.
If you’d like to improve your grade a bit, here’s a tool I’ve been using effectively for years that might be of help to you.
1. Carve out a regular time slot on your calendar every week for “connections”.
These are non-strategic, purely relational follow ups, that have little or no immediate value to you or your organization.
2. Throughout the week, as these relational “promptings” pop up, simply jot yourself a note (or, as I do, enter them immediately into your “connections” appointment in Outlook)
As the week progresses you’ll find this task filling up with little notes like “Call Bob” or “Send Sarah a note”.
3. Maintain the discipline to act on that list
I treat that hour in my calendar as if it were a standing appointment with any colleague.
Try something like this for a month, and see if it becomes habit forming for you.
At the very least, the next time you say “Hey, let’s have coffee” you’ll increase the likelihood that it will actually happen!
How do you stay on top of relational promptings?