February 04, 2015

Setting Goals for Your Relationships in 2015


I want to be mindful of your time and attention span, so let's fast forward through the expected opening debate when talking about goal setting. Resolutions are pointless. No, resolutions are awesome. What's yours? OK, done, that was a good debate.

Whether its setting goals or resolutions for the year, regardless of what you think is best, it's always a good practice to periodically redefine your strategy and purpose to building and maintaining strong professional relationships.

Rather than outlining what I think are your best practices, I'll walk you through the exercise I and my team run through. It's a mix between goals and resolutions, with more of a focus on the goal side of things. We also have implemented OKRs and more info on OKRs can be found through Google Ventures.

I think something that would be the most helpful to you would be to outline exact, tactical goals to better your relationships. So, copy the following bullet points to your favorite note-taking software (I'm an Evernote fanboy), title it "Relationship Goals: 2015" and fill in the blanks.

    • I care about building strong relationships because __________.
      What is your why? Why should you spend time at events, in phone calls, drinking coffee. What would make it worth the opportunity cost?

    • The general criteria of people who can help me achieve that goal are __________________.
      Are these people who can send you clients? People who can refer you to companies? Make introductions to investors?

    • The types of people who match those criteria are _____________________.
      Now we're starting to dig in. If you're looking for people who can send you clients - who are these people? Other professionals? Past clients? Your target clients, what types of vendors do they normally work with?

    • The types of people I specifically want to avoid are ____________.
      You have limited time on earth, so it's OK... no, crucial.... to limit yourself. Who are the people that are black holes? I'll admit, I have a few people who always ask for my time, and never return anything, nor does it seem like they will.

    • The top five people who I think I should really stay engaged with are ________________.
      This wasn't meant to be an easy question. It's hard to find the right people. Using Contactually? Put them in a bucket called "Legends," set the follow-up rules to every 45 days, and make sure you engage with them!

    • The areas where I can add value are ________________.
      What is a unique value that you're able to provide for your contacts? Business advice, connections, etc.

    • The number of people I think I want to engage with monthly is ___________.
      How many referrals do you need? How many candidates do you want? How many would an average person provide a quarter?

    • I'm willing to dedicate ______ hours to my relationships each week.
      QUICK! Right now, before doing anything else, put time block(s) in your calendar to focus on building great relationships. I waited until the end to ask this, but I am dead serious that THIS is the best thing you can do for your network this year. Great relationships require constant farming, which means building a habit. The best way for us busy professionals to build a habit is to dedicate the time in advance. You now have the dedicated time, and I can guarantee that pretty much whatever you do to fill that time will be well worth it.

BONUS: We put together this Slideshare below for you to print off and fill in your own goals.

I truly hope this is valuable for you. Myself and the Contactually team truly want you to have an amazing 2015, with strong and fruitful relationships. We're here to help.

Want to know how to better your relationships and maximize on your time? We'll help you with that...