The power of staying connected

I always tell people that if I can do so, I will “always take the meeting”.  By that, I mean that if possible, it is always good to stay connected with as many people as you can and to meet with these people as time permits, even when sometimes the clear purpose for meeting is not 100% clear.

An example of the benefit of doing so happened just the other day.  I had a meeting with someone I have known for a long time and have been working with on some non-profit work – Don Khouri of Khouri Coaching and Consulting (  We got to talking and I got a chance to learn more about his business and his methodology for helping technology leaders to grow and be more efficient and effective.  Thinking about the conversation, I suggested to him that I thought the topic would be of interest to our ITEC audience ( and suggested including one of his recent posts in our upcoming newsletter.

It turns out the inclusion was a big hit and a benefit for both Don and CrossTech.  Don sent over a nice note saying “I’m getting a good flow of traffic from your newsletter today.  Thanks for including my links,” and I found out from our internal editors that the click-throughs on the article were very high and the feedback we were getting was extremely  positive.

So from a meeting to catch up comes the start of a great, mutually beneficial relationship.

For me, it reinforces the mantra “always take the meeting” and will serve as a reminder for me that taking the meeting will often lead me places I would have never imagined it would.

Do you take the meeting?  Do you stay connected?

Focusing in hectic times…

April is our busy season as a company.  Add to that the fact that we are in the process of launching 2 new exciting initiatives, and it all adds up to a very hectic, sometimes crazy time at work.  What I find interesting in times like these, is to see which people within the company are able to turn it on and focus deeper on the initiatives and tasks at hand, and which are unable to do so and are caught up in the craziness and lose focus and actually become less productive.  I have been thinking recently, what guidance can I give to someone as to how to stay focused.  Here are some thoughts – let me know if there are other thoughts that make it easier to focus in times like these.

  • Stay Connected – one thing I see a lot is that people do not check voice mail, email, etc as often in these times and let those connections build up and then get overwhelming.  Even worse, critical communications, be it client communications or vendor communications or internal communications, go ignored or un-responded to.  Instead, I would suggest that you be more diligent about staying connected and more focused on making sure you are checking your connection points.  Obviously you cannot respond to everything.  But categorize, file the items, and respond to the critical items right away.
  • Prioritize - This is the key.  You need to prioritize your tasks and your commitments.  This does not mean to ignore the items that are on the bottom of the prioritization list – this is a common mistake.  Instead, prioritize, set expectations, communicate, and execute.
  • Do not get caught in side conversations – This is something I see all too often.  During “normal” times, meetings can go longer.  Conversations can go longer, side conversations are a part of the normal work environment.  In hectic times, it is critical to keep communications focused, clear, black-and-white, bullets as much as possible, and to the point.  No need to be rude – but instead frame it in the realm of staying focused.
  • Communicate – Whatever you do – never shut down or turn inside.  Communicate.  Keep people aware of your plans, mission, timeline, prioritization, and goals.  Seek help wherever necessary and over-communicate with the people most important.

Make sense?  Am I missing anything?

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