Why Traditional Maxims Are Still Relevant on the Business Landscape
Wikipedia describes innovation as "substantial positive change." This got me thinking about the question: What substantial positive advancement or innovation have those of us in the professional working world made to change how we do business in the information age and/or the "new" economy?
Over the past several of decades with the advent and growth of technology and the computer we as a society have shifted our focus from "head up" to "head down," meaning we now have our heads down, focused on our BlackBerrys, laptops, iPads, iPhones, and so on. We are texting and emailing at a furious pace. Instead of walking with our heads up and interacting with one another, we have our heads buried in the latest technology. I was recently at a dinner where some of the attendees were teenagers. Though they were sitting at the same table, some of the teens texting one another rather than connecting with verbal, face-to-face communication.
My suggestion for innovation is counter-intuitive to our culture's current thinking. What if we go back, to a simpler time, to move forward? Back to a time when we spoke to one another face to face or on the phone. A time when we wrote each other hand written notes and met for coffee or a meal instead of updating our status on Facebook?
I believe that we rely so heavily on technological innovations that we have lost sight of the human condition and our fundamental need for genuine human interaction. I propose a movement of change, in which we rediscover past methods and how they can have lasting impact in today's business world.
Suggestions to innovate the connections with your family, friends and business partners;
Write 5 handwritten notes per week: When was the last time you received a handwritten note? How did it make you feel? The note can be for the purpose of saying hello, I love you, please forgive me, let's get together, I miss you, etc…. There is every reason to write a note and no reason not to.
Make 5 outbound calls each day to family, friends and/or business contacts: I would prefer to hear your voice on the telephone than to read about you on email, texts, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. When was the last time you called a client to say, "I am calling for no other reason than to say that I am grateful for our relationship?" We are in a rough economy. People want to feel better. One way to do that is to use your voice to offer gratitude.
Make one face-to-face meeting each week with family, friends and/or business contacts: To me, there is so much for power in sharing with someone when we are together. When did casting a wide net take the place of being more to few? I would prefer to have a handful of deep relationships built on trust and likability than a large number of shallow and meaningless relationships. This goes both for the personal and business.
"My suggestion for innovation is counter-intuitive to our culture's current thinking."
Invite your 5 most valuable referral partners or clients to a quarterly roundtable: The discussion can vary from parenthood, to business, to the economy, to choosing and reading a book as a group, to sharing ideas and strategies for personal and business success.
Annual get together: Here I am suggesting that you invite a large group to meet one time a year. This is an opportunity for your social and business network to come together and connect in person. New relationships will form and you will be the catalyst for those new connections.
I believe it is a time to go back to the basic communication styles and strategies that have produced success for many generations of people in both their personal and business lives.
To be an innovator and achieve "substantial positive change" in today's culture and economic environment we have to be willing to do what has become close to extinct. If you follow the five action plans above, you will be doing what most are not doing. This will create separation and improve relationships and lead to strong personal and business relationships.