One Of My Bigger Regrets

 I really do not have many regrets in life.  Partially because I make reasonably intelligent choices most of time, and partially because I am too arrogant to admit I made a mistake in the first place.  That being said, one of my greatest regrets in life has been my complete lack of effort in attempting to maintain relationships.  I am great at building relationships with the people I work with, but when we no longer work together for whatever reason those relationships quickly fade away.  I don’t make a strong enough effort to keep in touch with people.

 I have been making much more of an effort to reconnect with some of the people from my past.  I have harnessed the power of LinkedIn and used it to reach out to many people that I have not spoken to in years.  I have picked up the phone and called a few people as well. 

I would love to tell you that the result has been a magical rekindling of old friendships and I was able to pick back up right where I left off with all of my old contacts.   I would love to tell you that, but that would not exactly be the truth.  In some cases, I have absolutely reconnected and I think I actually brought some joy to the people I was reaching out to.  My call was unexpected and I was reaching out for no other purpose than I wanted to talk to them.  I think it made them feel very appreciated and special.  In other cases the calls were very awkward and I think they were waiting for me to ask for something or trying to figure out what my angle was.  Every call may not have had a fairy tale ending, but a few of them really made some old friends smile so I would consider the effort a success.

Here is my advice to you, reach out to an old contact today.  Call them, don’t email your communication.  I had a much higher success rate with the phone calls I made as opposed to the emails I sent.  If one of your old contacts is still local to you, then arrange to have coffee or meet for breakfast one morning. My career path would have been far better if I had taken the time to maintain relationships throughout my career.  It took me a very long time to realize the value of maintaining relationships.  Fortunately, I like to believe that I am still evolving so I am taking the necessary actions to correct my behaviors.  Learn from my mistakes and regrets and reach out to someone today that you have not spoken to in a long time.  Step away from Twitter and Facebook and actually connect with someone today.   

It turns out your Iphone can actually be used for more than updating your Facebook page. It can actually make phone calls as well.

Who Has The Most Influence Over Your Career?

I was in a meeting yesterday and an interesting thing happened.  The CEO of our company walked in and everyone instantly perked up.  Those that were multi-tasking and not really paying attention suddenly stopped and gave their full attention.  Everyone was charming and smiling and actively engaged in a pleasant exchange of ideas.  Then the CEO walked back out and the mood changed instantly.That started me thinking, why do we treat the CEO so much better than we treat our peers or our employees?  Being the inquisitive person I am, I asked a few people.  Most of the answers I got started with “I don’t treat the CEO any differently but I think other people do because….”  Apparently this is a behavior we are incapable of recognizing in ourselves.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I treat the CEO any differently, but maybe I am fooling myself.  At any rate, they went on to theorize that people treat the CEO better than their peers because they believe that he holds more influence over the future of their careers.  That he can influence whether they keep their jobs, get promoted, or get a raise.

There may be some truth to that, but not a whole lot in my opinion.  I would like to believe that I have a great deal of influence over the future of my career.  I know my job well.  I have spent a great deal of time educating myself on my industry and as a result I sincerely think that I am one of the world’s foremost experts on what I do.  Whether that belief is true or not is almost irrelevant as I do not think that is what keeps me employed or keeps my future bright.  I think the main thing that keeps me employed is that I have a long track record of success.  I have a long track record of success because I treat my employees better than I would treat the CEO.

No matter how smart, ambitious, or creative I am, my future depends on my employees.  They can make or break me.  They are the most valuable people to my long-term success.  I honestly believe that and I treat them accordingly.  If they need to talk, then I make time to talk to them.  If there are issues that keep them from being as productive as they can be, then I deal with the issues swiftly.  I try to praise them often and ensure that they know just how much I do appreciate them.  They know that they are important to me because I remind them every chance I get.

My advice is to treat each of your employees as if they were the CEO of your company.  Scratch that, my advice is to treat each of your employees better than you treat the CEO.  It is the best way to ensure your long-term success as a manager.