I cannot remember people’s names or connect them with their work, location most of the time. But, I can remember one of the three. Quite bad, given the work I do, one would say.
However, on the other side friends, colleagues always commend, congratulate me on my excellent memory, ability to locate stuff and all which goes into making a person effective. Many a times, it is convenience based, to dump their work, habits and all 🙂
Early in Life, I learnt and accepted a lot of my short comings – inability to recognise people, remember stuff – a serious negative for a Sales man. It was then I decided and learnt to retain relevant stuff in my memory and push the rest to the back, that could be dragged out when required, with a couple of references – similar to the tags that we use today 🙂
As I climbed the ladder, a lot more things became relevant and helped me; some points that may be of help – nothing secret about them – just how you apply them.
- Write everything down – I am a notorious scribbler, lover of notebooks, stationery. I have a literal OCD of writing everything down. And once written, it remains in memory for me.
- Maintain a Diary – I maintain a diary, ruthlessly adhering to it, so much so that I’ve been known to be Anal about it at times. I have also been extremely fortunate enough to have had the best secretaries, assistants who agreed and kept me sane.
- Use Sticky Notes – As a stationery lover, I would buy these in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors across my travels. And consistently use them for reminders on tables, computers, books.
- Emails – Avoid them like the plague, keep them brief (yep, been accused of writing that many failed to understand; or a sudden barrage of reminders)
- Meet/Speak to People – A promise to myself when I began my career, that became difficult to keep – Would meet 2-3 new people every week – clients, prospects, interviews, travel companions, competition, chaiwallah, security – these are the people who share observations, gossip, information.
- No phone meetings – A sancrosanct rule enforced by me and trust me the productivity goes up by at least 30%
- Daily commute – Using daily commute to manage the tactical part of the day. Meditate, Power nap, read, call, message.
- Be approachable – Some friends have said, that I am overly approachable but these are the same friends, who will call and say, Please connect us to xyz to who you spent time with.
- Find solutions to problems – It is important that you offer solutions to problems – genuine or perceived – and not problems to problems. This is quite crucial in a leadership role.
This list is in no way complete; but something that has worked for me, more so as I kept refining the points and applying them as I grew in leadership roles.
Do you have some secrets that works for your effectiveness? Would you share? I would like to learn.