“Lunch Dates Wanted”: AKA Staying Connected Offline
While news feeds are full of pictures of dogs and smiling faces, how many people are really connecting?. Some things I have found helpful in my career and in my life to stay connected:
- Have a coffee klatch or networking group where you might be open, honest, and in which you might find a confidential sounding board. You may find that others share many of the same experiences and can offer perspectives and strategies. You may discover likeminded people and opportunities to work together or share resources. Whether you meet weekly, twice a month, or monthly, this can be a cathartic experience. People in non-competing businesses can provide information about their “vertical” markets. Seek to meet one-on-one outside of the meetings for coffee or lunch or even a phone conversation so that you get to know each person as individuals as some great people might get “lost” in the crowd.
- Be part of an industry-related organization where, while you might be competitors, you all learn together and can share information. Colleagues may have common insights and you may discover potential opportunities and collaborations. Professional development matters because the only true constant is change. Yesterday I picked up the phone and called another industry-related CEO to ask a question regarding how he handled something. He could not be more helpful. I have done the same for others. One thing that has come out of this has been the opportunity to be part of teams of professionals, working in tandem with attorneys, accountants, and others as part of a client’s wealth management team.
- Get out from behind the desk. Have lunch with other professional people – and not just people who are like you, but people you don’t know well or who may have different viewpoints. I one time ran an ad “Lunch dates wanted” in a local business journal. I gave people the opportunity to discuss their business and professional lives with me. People thought it was awesome. Yes, to answer your question, they did contact me! (Hey, I provide my contact info on every post!)
- If you are the leader of an organization, have a retreat where there are no ranks – use a round table – and let the various constituents discuss the great things and the pain points. My “President’s Cabinet” was one of the most valuable experiences for me as a CEO. The agenda was theirs. It helped to shape policy and culture. Not everything can be implemented, of course, but each time value was derived. You have to set emotion aside and truly listen. Then the hard work starts: you need to do the work and follow-up. Having representatives from different business units and positions makes for the best meetings. If you only have the top people, you don’t get the true view – some of the best ideas may come from the places you might not expect. Oh, and put the cell phones away until the break. This is a great way to stay connected with your organization.
- Make time for the things that matter to you: family, friends, supporting causes and organizations, taking time to decompress, exercise and wellness. Kids grow up before our eyes, parents age, siblings have their own lives – get together and keep the connections and make the memories – my multi-generational, extended family vacations have been amazing.
This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice to any individual.
Seek professional advice before taking any action in regard to your finances.
Todd A. Slingerland, CFP®
6 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203 (518) 867-4000 x105 firstname.lastname@example.org