If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I’m a tremendous fan of networking and turning business partnerships into friendships. You’ll often hear me saying, "It’s all about the people." While I have done quite well investing in stocks, pre-IPO companies, and businesses, I have done even better investing in people. I want to take my network to the next level by planning my first people day. Today’s entry outlines what this people day is all about. It will act as my personal agenda and will hopefully spark some great ideas for your own network strategy too!
Before I get into the specifics of my upcoming people day, I wanted to take a moment to explain why people have been so fundamental to my career:
- Great mentors have guided me in the right direction.
- Great connections have helped me secure new jobs.
- Great employees have worked on my team, driving results and making my life wonderful as a manager.
- Great teammates have made my workday fun and exiting.
- Great people have helped me solve complex business challenges that no single person could solve on their own.
- Great partners have brought forth incredible game-changing technologies that have transformed my business operations.
- Great PPC Ian readers have provided amazing questions, insights, and ideas (thank you for reading).
- Great sponsors have made this blog a reality (thank you for your support).
- Great friends have connected me with fabulous consulting opportunities.
- Great leaders have inspired the way I do business.
- The list goes on!
Aside from your own health/growth and your own family, I would argue that the single most important investment in one’s life is other people. The people investment is more important than saving money. It’s more important than investing in stocks, bonds, and real estate.
Why is it then that I spend so much time obsessing over stocks, but far less time strategizing about people, my network, my most important investment? Why is it that I save every spare dollar for financial investment, rather than allocating a portion of my savings to people investment? I will be holding my first ever people day in the coming weeks, and here’s what I plan to accomplish…
Goal 1: Scrappy People Database [3 hours]
While I have gone to painstaking detail to categorize every imaginable detail on my financial portfolio, I have not taken the time to do the same with my network. I will leverage all data available – business cards, LinkedIn, emails, and notes – to create a centralized database. My database will include as much information as possible: contact details, how I know them, when I last saw them, who paid for lunch last time, fun facts, and more. Part of the process will be identifying all of the columns I require. I will also assign each person a level of priority: friend, super friend, and super best friend.
This step alone will help me be a better business partner, connection, and friend. Having all the data in one place will immediately help me focus on the amazing people in my business life, encouraging me to stay in contact more often and more strategically. Eventually, I may migrate this entire process into a CRM system, but I’ll start out with the quick, scrappy route in Excel.
Goal 2: Take Action With High Leverage Opportunities [2 hours]
Since this is my first people day, I am going to take the quick, scrappy approach to realizing results. This involves really analyzing those that fall into the "super best friend" category. I will look at each super best friend one-by-one. Specifically, I will:
- Reach out to them if I have not recently.
- Plan lunch (on me) if we have not seen each other recently.
- Brainstorm how I can be of assistance to them.
- Create a calendar (that I can stick to) for future lunch meetings.
With my incredibly busy life, I feel like I could have been more proactive staying in contact with some of my best friends. This is not acceptable, and a primary goal of my people day is creating a sustainable cadence and schedule going forward.
Goal 3: Lunch Hour Big Picture Strategy On Who I Want To Meet [1 hour]
It has been said that you become an average of the people you surround yourself with. Thankfully, I surround myself with the most incredible, amazing people, and I’m so thankful for that. As someone who’s always looking to grow and expand, I want to carefully brainstorm over lunch 5-10 people who I want to meet (or re-connect with) in the coming 12 months. These will be people with unique skills and accomplishments, people who know things that truly want to learn.
These may be leaders who I worked with in the past or people I don’t know at all. The important element here is these are people who are busy, successful, and really don’t have time for me! There’s an element of challenge here, I want to shoot for the stars. I’m going to spend some time trying to build a relationship with these 5 leaders, bringing value into their lives. However, if only one or two work out, that will be considered success and progress. I want to set the bar high.
Goal 4: Plan, Buy, and Send Holiday Gifts [2 hours]
I’m a big fan of holiday gifts, especially ones with custom engravings that have a personalized message. I’m going to curate my list of super best friends and probably best friends too, planning holiday cards and gifts. I will determine an appropriate budget, and plan to say "thank you" to the people that matter.
These gifts make an incredible difference and strengthen relationships, if they come from the heart. A great example: My team and I sent custom-engraved gifts to our Yahoo! team last year. A very high official at Yahoo! reached out and let me know that we were the only client to do this, out of their multitude of clients. Our gifts made an impact on the partnership/friendship.
As part of the holiday gifts, I also plan to create great documentation so the process is even quicker next year. I’ll certainly build this into the database (Goal 1).
Goal 5: Social Media Network Expansion [1 hour]
I have met an incredible number of business professional and leaders thanks to my blog, PPC Ian. I am so thankful for everyone who reads. I hope I have added as much value to all of your lives as you have to mine. I’m always looking to grow my audience here on PPC Ian because that’s one way to grow my network! In fact, it may be one of the absolute best ways to grow my network, because PPC Ian has no geographic boundaries.
Lately, I’ve been investing in paid social media with incredible success. I want to spend a little bit of time during my people day looking at the numbers, planning budgets, and determining how much I can afford to invest going forward. I’m on a limited paid media budget, and have already blasted through a reasonable sum of money. I need to really understand what I’m willing to invest and challenge myself to go all out on this front.
In the coming weeks, I will be doing a separate blog post outlining the success I have been experiencing via social media, especially Facebook.
As a related note, would you like to me part of my network? I’d really like you to be! Please shoot me an email or message on social media, and I’ll add you to my personal network. I’m always looking to meet new business professionals and friends. Let me now how I can be of assistance to you!
Goal 6: Recapping The Day and Brainstorming For My Next People Day [1 hour]
I will close out the day getting my next people day on the map, and with some high level thinking. My first people day is going to be incredibly scrappy and tactical. I’m getting the basic foundation in place for future success. However, this people day can become so much more! I want to get my next people day on the map, and brainstorm some really clever, big ideas. Things I already want to do that I’ll be skipping this first people day:
- Thank-a-Thon: I want to personally call people from my database to reconnect and thank them for being in my life.
- Community Service: Part of investing in people is giving back. The perfect way to start off a people day is investing in one’s own community. As a related note, I want to double down and invest in friends who actively participate in community service. How can I donate to their causes?
- Summit: I want to get some of my closes friends together for a people day summit. How can we help each other with our networks, partnerships, and friendships? How can we challenge each other?
I recently started my new PPC Ian Quotes Series. One of my most popular quotes is, "Invest in yourself. Carve out the time. Nobody else will." Today, I encourage you to have your own people day. While you’re investing in others, the people in your business life, you’re also investing in yourself, since people are your greatest investment!
Image of people network strategy © iStockPhoto – DigtialStorm