On Building a Relationship Shortlist

Here’s something I shared with my team the other day as an internal note.

The particular Slack Channel is called #idtgatt which is short for “It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!

The intent with this channel is for our team to candidly share the things that they are learning, hopefully in real-time (instead of when a major project is complete).

It’s a corporate tooling

I can hear myself talking…

So far, the experiment isn’t going too well since no one except me is writing anything in it, but, I won’t give up!

Here you go (ignore grammar and punctuation):

today is a powerful reminder of how important it can be for us, individually and as a team, to have a growing short list of folks that we’d love to work with (again).

this was a gift to me by one of my previous coaches who helped me start thinking critically about long-term professional relationships and what the upsides could be if i did it well (e.g. building the shortlist of folks).

a few things that i remember him coaching me on….:

  1. building relationships is hard, but necessary. it is the most powerful professional currency that you’ll ever have. invest in it. prioritize it.
  2. if you don’t plan and schedule you won’t ever do it. make goals for your networking and relationship development efforts… this way you know if you’re hitting your target or if you’re failing (and have to readjust). unless you’re naturally relationship-driven (and/or gregarious, etc), this will never become a habit, so, you must work even harder to build it.
  3. make a crm (but it doesn’t have to be fancy). i still use paper and pen, personally.
  4. building the list will be frustratingly-slow, at first. it accelerates over time and then your challenge becomes one of curation, not collection.
  5. consistent follow-ups is the gas that powers the entire machine. if you don’t keep these folks top-of-mind and if you don’t lightly engage with them, catchup, or ping them, then you won’t grow the relationship and continue to confirm their place on the shortlist.
  6. you must tell your shortlist people that they are on your shortlist. it makes you top of mind for them too.
  7. adding value to their lives is the quickest and most effective way for you to get on their shortlist, even if they don’t actually have one. it’ll be a shared memory that’ll last.
  8. remembering important dates (about them) is also an easy way to check-in and catch-up (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, hire dates, kid / spouse bdays/anniversaries, etc…) and is always a perfect excuse for a ping.
  9. always pay (for the coffee, meal).

bonus thought… this works for VC-relationships too.