Friday, January 27, 2012

Key Networking Feature: Sharing

Networking is about creating best friends forever who will advocate for you.  Let’s revisit some aspects of your friendship and see why that works great for both.   Let’s assume you have a fictitious best friend named Chris.  Now you receive a gold medal in 400 meters running race and call Chris immediately “to share your happiest moment”.  You just shared a part of your life and made Chris a part of your life.  Chris now feels important.  You are not feeling well and you need help and you call Chris.  Chris shows up and helps you out.  In return you always stand by him whenever he needs you.  You are always connected with Chris through email, phone, and home address and hang out together.  Whenever you are happy, sad, enlightened, or whatever you feel like sharing with Chris. 

Now hold that thought for a second and ask this question to yourself, have you ever felt this way with some of your professional friends?  Have you shared anything with them that you felt was great? Do you happen to keep everything personal because you believe that personal and professional lives should not cross lines?  Or have you met a person who does that?  If you don’t share then you might feel isolated from your professional network and also feel that you don’t get the most out of your network.  Sharing does not always have to be something very personal but how about sharing some nice article with them which you liked?  How about sharing a nice job posting you saw and thought that this might be helpful to somebody?  Why not share a business opportunity with your network?   We underestimate the power of sharing.  Imagine how the world would be where nobody talked to each other and nobody shared information with anybody.  Scary right! The more you share the more better you will be in making better networked friends.  And the better the network we will be more informed and the world will be a better place to live. 

In sharing there is one factor that you have to consider is the kind of information you are share on the kind of the network.  It is about knowing the nature of your network, communities, and friends.  Different communities and networks behave differently online and differently offline.  Communities on Google+ are different than Facebook.  People participating on Reddit and other forums will be different.  Obviously nothing can match one and one personal communications.  Sharing gradually builds your identity over a time.  Even if you don’t get a single “Like” or a single comment on your shared item, people notice what you share.  I did a review for a paper I had to write and in that I had to collect responses about me from people close to me other than relatives.  I was amazed by what people told me about me.  One interesting comment I got was that I was too guarded and was secretive. I was surprised.  People do notice what you share and do not share offline and online.  And they form opinions about it.   It is important that you keep doing what you like and what reflects you because that will stay with you for longer time. 

If you are on a job market then ask for help from your entire network. Now when you get a job then inform them that you have got the job. Building a strong network is very tough.  And I am not good at it but learning.  Don’t share because others are doing and you have to.  Share because it’s natural to you and you want to.  Don't stop because you don't get feedback on it.  Share because many people will see still if not bother to comment.  There are hundreds of stories we see online and on how many of those do we comment.  It is just like that.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Success Factor: Showing Up

In most successful people's case it was just a matter of showing up on time.  Just show up.  Some of the famous bloggers and blogs are successful because they always showed up.  They kept shipping.  Even when they sucked at it.  I have blogged before on shipping read this "Born to ship".  If you suck at whatever you do and if you keep doing it then eventually you will realize how much you suck at it and you will try to find ways to improve.  After writing so many articles and posts when I look back at older posts, I realize how bad I was at writing.  Some posts don't make any sense right now but they had to go out.  Facebook believes in, "Done is better than perfect" philosophy.  If you can recall the first generation Kindle device you will say it sucked big time compared to what it is now.  Amazon is relentless in pursuing their ideas.  They are not going back or stop.  New versions of Kindles which are better, faster and lighter will show up during the holiday season with more content and more choice.  So just show up.  Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn is often quoted saying,

  "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late."


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Make Sure List For Every Meeting To Stay On Track

Some projects last for a long period of time and lots of meetings are conducted to get the project done.  During those meetings lots of things are discussed.  Lots of decisions are being made and responsibilities being assigned.  At the same time not everything that was important gets accomplished.  It is because other priorities took over and that one thing which was important never got done.  And nobody bothered to revisit it.

I think these things should be addressed before a meeting is even scheduled and agenda being formed.  This is a checklist of things that need to be done for past, present and future meetings.   This will make sure that we are in the control of the project.  I see past, present and future meetings’ to-do lists as color coded items.  It helps me in realizing the importance of each of them.  Please make sure about the following things for every meeting we schedule.

Previous meetings (Green)
Run through a checklist from last meeting about things that need to be reviewed like check if assigned tasks were done or not, goals met or not, any pending activities or updates on progress etc.  Someone who is new should get a fair amount of idea about previous meetings. Green color symbolizes that the past is gone and mostly all of the things should be done.

Present meetings (Red)
Our most important time is not past or future it is present and it is very crucial so it is color coded as red.  You cannot afford to waste it and certainly not make less use of it.  Include things that can be discussed and decisions to be made in current meetings.  Check if the person responsible for decision making available today? If no then don’t schedule the meeting just because it is a recurring activity on your calendar.  In this meeting, everyone should contribute with their inputs on things that need to be discussed otherwise don’t include that person in a meeting.  Read this Google philosophy here.

Future meetings (Yellow)
Just like a traffic signal this is signaling you that you need to be prepared for the future to-do lists.  This will help us in preparing for the current meeting.  How?  By looking at the future to-do lists we can adjust our agenda to include more or fewer things.  And if we are far behind the schedule then we can decide whether we need to adjust or not.

All of the above points should not bog you down into too much specifics.  If these points are coming in the way of effectively conducting meetings then ignore them but make sure that you are meeting the goals and are on track.