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山西财院78jitong 19781017--19820715




78jitong.......................................................... 高三李五七弓长,三赵九刘七大王,阎吴谢孙崔氏双,柴米余侯箩万堂, 毛邓陈宋任申杭,曾肖徐翁程董梁,储曲祁解韦国强,男女七十学跟党。



2017-08-29 09:49:29|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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2016年01月13日 - 78jitong - 元旦快乐

I wrote to all 1,109 of my LinkedIn contacts last year. Here’s what I learned.

Last year, I made a nutty New Year’s resolution: to write a personal note to every one of my LinkedIn contacts in 2015.

Not to spoil the end of the story, but I made it across the finish line in December. The whole endeavor was both a giant pain in the ass and strangely rewarding.

I’m going to get to the (clickbait alert) 4 LESSONS in a moment, but whenever people hear about this project, they usually have a bunch of questions. So let’s start by answering the most common inquiries.

Why the hell did you do this?

Three things spurred me to give it a go:

1. The difference between Facebook and LinkedIn.
Those who know me know that I love Facebook. I love the way it allows me to stay connected to friends. It’s an ongoing conversation and I feel that I know what’s happening with people even if I haven’t seen them in years.

But LinkedIn is totally different. (Although, it seems like they’re trying to be more FB-like in recent years.) You don’t get that regular stream of communication and, as a result, you don’t have that same window into your connections’ current lives. Don’t get me wrong; I think that’s perfectly appropriate for a professional networking tool. But I realized that there were lots of people here that I hadn’t spoken with in years and I was curious about what they were up to.

2. George H.W. Bush. (The first one, not the “Mission Accomplished” one.)
I remember reading years ago that throughout his career, the first President Bush started almost every day by sitting down and writing a handful of thank you notes. Many people say that his career was enhanced because of this practice, but it also just seemed like a genuinely decent thing to do. I don’t know if the story is 100 percent true or not, but it stayed with me for years and it was part of the spark of inspiration.

3. Enlightened Self Interest.
OK, I admit it, the idea wasn’t entirely without self interest. While I hadn’t completely decided to leave my old job, I suspected that I’d be making a change in 2015 and was toying with the idea of going out on my own. I thought that the project might be a good way to reconnect. Not in a sales-y sort of way but in a lets-see-what-other-people-are up-to-and-maybe-there-will-be-a-chance-to-work-with-old-friends-again sort of way. (And yes, it did result in some assignments.)

You just copied and pasted the same message over and over again, right?

No, not exactly.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a standard structure developed over the course of the year, but I really did try to customize each one and make it personal to the recipient.

Also, I’ve had a lot of different jobs in my career, so the way that I know people varies. A standard copy-and-paste thing wasn’t really going to cut it.

(This is where those of you who got an email with somebody else’s name in the body can rat me out. Hey, it happened once or twice, what can I say.)

What about the random connections—those people that you have no idea who they really are?

I’m sort of a LinkedIn purist. Over the years, I really haven’t “linked in” with anybody that I didn’t actually work with. (Well, recruiters and headhunters are the exception; a fella has to eat!)

But just about everybody on the list was somebody that I had worked with IN REAL LIFE in some capacity. Some closer than others, of course, but there were less than 10 names where I said, “I have no idea who this person is.” (The “date you connected” feature is helpful for context in these situations.)

How many connections do you have?

On January 1, 2015, I had 1,109 connections. That was the list that I exported, alphabetized by last name, and used for the project.

So if you are one of the 123 people that joined my PROFESSIONAL NETWORK since 1/1/15, you didn’t get an email. I’m sorry. You’re still wonderful and, no, I’m not writing all of you in 2016.

How long did it take?

Oof. Longer than I thought.

I did a little math at the beginning of the year and figured that I needed to write five emails each day, Monday through Friday, to get through the full list by the end of the year. I thought that it would take me 10-15 minutes each morning.

Needless to say, life intervened and it wasn’t possible to write every day. So I’d get behind and then have to do a power session and write 20 in one sitting.

Plus, the emails themselves took a little longer. To really personalize them, I needed to remind myself of our connection and last interaction. I needed to check out the person’s profile to see what they were up to today so that I could ask questions. And it just takes time to write a decent email.

I wrote my first email on New Year’s morning, 2015 (shout out to Ashley Aron!) and my last one on December 15, 2015 (thanks for bringing up the rear, Amanda Zweerink.)

How many people responded?

I didn’t keep stats on this, but I would estimate that I got replies from less than half of the people that I emailed. Which is FINE, because…then what? Do I respond to the response? If so, I would have spent every waking hour on LinkedIn.

During the year, I ran into people all the time that said, “I haven’t responded to your LinkedIn email.” But, while it was lovely to get written responses, I didn’t expect it to happen.

Also, it’s clear that not everybody who has a LinkedIn account checks it frequently. I’d sometimes get a response MONTHS later that said some version of, “I just did my annual login to LinkedIn and found your message.” Others responded in minutes.

The 4 Lessons

What did I learn through this whole thing?

1. People, not “Connections”

When I started, I was sort of hung up on the math of the whole thing. Could I get through all 1,109? Have I done my five for today? What percentage of the year has passed and does that match the percentage of the list I’ve completed?

But when you get down to writing a letter to someone, it’s not about any of that stuff. It’s not about “the project” but about connecting with another human being. Reflecting on our connection. Checking in to see where they are in their life. Sharing a little bit of an update about myself and asking questions.

And the responses that I did get were really touching. Many, many people wrote long, thoughtful replies, full of personal stories about their career and family and their current passion. It was interesting and inspiring and some of the stories were sad and some were hopeful and you realize we are all just people making our way through life and doing the best that we can.

2. You Are Not Your Title

I have nearly 25 years of work experience and the people in my network span that career—from my work in the non-profit world to theatre to working at schools to the entertainment industry to advertising.

It’s hard to avoid the status games that are inherent in any work environment—there is hierarchy in every organization. But people are not their titles.

What you do for a living is important but it doesn’t define you. Even in the context of this professional social network, many of the responses shared updates about family and outside-of-work passions and painted pictures of interesting and complicated lives.

Plus, so many people are crafting customized professional lives that the old trappings of “success”—that VP title or working for a name-brand company—have lost some of their punch. Reconnecting with so many people, it’s clear that what excites people is much more interesting than what box they fit into on an org chart.

3. Time Matters

A 140-character tweet or a quick text can be an effective, efficient means of communication, but they’re almost too easy.

The act of sitting down and writing a person takes time. It became clear to me that giving somebody that time is what matters. I felt connected to each of my contacts not because I hit “send” on an email, but because I thought about them, spent some time on their profile to see what they’d been doing since we worked together, and then asked them questions about their lives.

The ritual of thinking about other people ended up being one of the most rewarding parts of the effort.

4. A Career is a Living, Changing Thing

I admire the people who have a strong single vision for their career. That focus tends to pay great dividends.

But after reconnecting with more than 1,000 colleagues, it’s pretty clear that modern careers are fluid, morphing things. Many people have completely different vocations than when we worked together. Others had discarded old jobs to pursue passions. For others, life events had intervened to force relocations or new career changes.

It’s corny and cliché to break out the old “the only constant is change,” but my limited sample size reinforced it over and over again.

My Next Ritual?

In the weeks since I finished the project, I’ve missed the ritual. Writing an email or two was something that I could plug into when I had time between other projects. And it was always fun to find a reply in my inbox. I suspect those replies may be coming for years to come.

But the completion means that I have space for a new ritual. I mean, can you imagine how great I’d look if I spent this much time on my HEALTH?

Yeah, probably not gonna happen.

Happy New Year!

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