In his first masterclass for Covve, Doug Lester, a world-class career strategist and executive coach for MBA students and alumni at a top-tier business school and executives at Fortune 100 companies, shares the importance of abandoning the spreadsheet to take a more sophisticated approach to manage your contacts. The approach he recommends enables professionals to focus on the important things: building relationships and advancing their careers through the strength of their connections.
In the following video, Doug shares his personal experience adopting a robust system to keep track of his professional contacts, one that reminds him to stay in touch with them, and helps him effectively capture important information from each conversation and exchange.
He discusses the complexity involved in trying to build a contact tracking system in a spreadsheet and the hard work required to maintain it. Doug then shares some tips and insights into automating this process, better managing your contacts, and keeping your relationships active and warm through a personal CRM (client relationship management software). Most importantly, he underlines the significance of setting realistic goals and expectations when managing your network of contacts.
As Doug points out, “It will likely vary by the type of contact we’re talking about. Be honest with yourself about this one. Sure, it can feel good to say, ‘I’m going to reach out to this person every month or every quarter.’ But the demands of your work and life may only allow you to make that kind of decision for so many people in your network.”
It goes without saying that even master networkers balance the amount of time they commit to networking and value the depth of their relationships over the number of contacts they manage.