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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Three Ideas to Rock Your 2010 Part I: Correspond to Connect

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"Happy New Year and welcome to the next decade - "the teenies," as some in the UK are calling it. Today is great day to take inventory and think about what you want to accomplish in the new year - or even the new decade. Over the next three days I will cover a few ideas that anyone can ride to new heights in 2010 and beyond. These can help you no matter what line of work you're in. Of course, given my world view, they apply most to those interested in social media, marketing and communications. Here's the first...

Correspond to Connect

Thomas Jefferson's polygraph was used to keep identical copies of the 20,000 letters he wrote in is life. (Photograph by Jim Merithew/ via "Tommy J's Crib Is 18th Century Palace of Gadget Geekery")

In 2010 to succeed as individuals and businesses we need to embrace connecting with people globally on three levels: one-to-one, one-to-few and one-to-many. As dancer Twyla Tharp describes in her new book The Collaborative Habit, great work comes through collaboration. Success requires thinking and acting on all three levels. And it means listening too.

Today Twitter, Facebook, Google Wave and the next big things in connecting socially will allow us to innovate in how we connect with stakeholders, colleagues and friends - and on all three levels. But some things never go out of style. I get more email than ever - and I love it. Businesses should too. Connecting offline remains important. Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls this Management by Flying Around. So my advice is in 2010 vow to correspond to connect as much as you realistically can.

Need inspiration? How about Thomas Jefferson. Sure he connected with and inspired millions with the Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." But he also answered his mail thousands of letters - connecting with countless others. He even devised a clever polygraph machine to keep copies of all correspondence.

From the Monticello web site...

"From sun-rise to one or two o'clock," he noted, "I am drudging at the writing table." Jefferson wrote almost 20,000 letters in his lifetime, among them, scholarly musings to colleagues, affectionate notes to his family, and civil responses to admirers. He wrote John Adams that he suffered "under the persecution of letters," calculating that he received 1,267 letters in the year 1820, "many of them requiring answers of elaborate research, and all to be answered with due attention and consideration."

This year, vow not to lose sight of the art and importance of daily correspondence. Reach out to new people - even those you don't agree with or those in other countries. Solicit and share new ideas.

As for me, I try to answer any correspondence that deserves a response. Sometimes it takes me time but I do so on three levels: my one-to-one communications (email and Twitter direct messages), one-to-few (Facebook comments, Twitter replies, etc.) and one-to-many (blog comments, interview requests, etc.) I also reach out to new people as well who I want to get to know better. Don't begrudge the volume of communications, focus on it - but the right messages.

Wouldn't it be great if organizations and the people who work for them all aspired to live the same, just as Jefferson did.

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