Staying In Touch Is Important

2 aliens looking at each other through binoculars

Staying In Touch Is Important

Staying in Touch…It’s so easy. Why aren’t we better at it?

Sometimes, identifying the things that we should do is just a matter of common sense. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we remember to, have the time to, or ”want” to do them. Or, as Ben Franklin suggested, “The problem with common sense is, it isn’t.”

In any event, as many of you know, here at The Synergy Organization, we are unrelenting proponents of all things Baldrige, and we are on our own Baldrige Journey to Excellence. Those on the Journey know that the Baldrige Program emphasizes the importance of effective communications, both internally with employees and externally with customers and other stakeholders. The quality of these communications requires thoroughness, accuracy, and transparency.

At Synergy, we built this imperative into our screening process. We always assess whether candidates are genuinely interested in others, if and how they really listen to others, and whether they faithfully follow through on what they say and what they hear. Or, do they just pay lip service? We ask for evidence of how they have done this and what results they achieved.

As part of every Evidence-Based Executive Search® and Evidence-Based Assessments, we screen out those who are “Cardboard Charismatics,” those wanna-be leaders who have precious little, if any, depth. Instead, we look for leaders who are authentic and genuine.

Our Founder, Dr. Ken Cohen, learned about a former senior executive who approached a maintenance staff member and casually asked him who was his favorite football team. To which the staff member responded by naming the team and adding “It’s the same team as it was last month when you asked me the exact same question.”

Another vivid example comes from a CEO we know who summed up his former COO and why he recently terminated that person. He shared that this person “was a mile wide, but only an inch deep.” Our friend further described this COO as “only having the ability to look up” and being oblivious to the needs and talents of those around and below him.

So, back to my point: Keeping in touch is important, even if it is hard work, but it has to be genuine. These days, the ever-growing cohort of social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter should make it easier to stay in touch. But, do they really?

Let’s face it, ”Social Media Overload” and the general busyness of our day-to-day lives can get in the way of staying “caught up,” and we miss those important moments in the lives of those we most want – and need – to stay in touch with.

To reinforce this point, we suspect that there is an inverse relationship between the number of emails a leader sends out and their overall quality and effectiveness as a leader. Over the last 30+ years, we have found that the most effective leaders meet with people face-to-face for their more difficult and important interactions so that they can observe facial expressions and non-verbal cues, understand the other person’s perspectives, and then respond appropriately. The best leaders understand that emails, text messages and phone calls might be more efficient but are not as effective over the long term. They seek to ensure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the issues at hand as well, their reasons, and the most appropriate options and next steps. Unlike most others, they use emails and other communication channels when the topic is less critical or requires a simple response, such as to confirm a meeting.

The bottom line? We can always improve on how we keep in touch. Toward that end, here is a potpourri of tips that we have picked up over time in working with world-class leaders as one of the nation’s preeminent healthcare executive search firms. This list is in no particular order, but we hope it is helpful for staying in touch more effectively.

1. Keep things simple because we all have too much information to stay on top of. Send a meme, brief article, or funny video that makes someone smile or laugh. It shows them that you were thinking of them.

2. Make it a habit… set aside time, say 10 minutes every day, to work on it.

3. Send relevant content that provides real value to the recipient (which, by the way, we hope we are doing with our blogs).

4. Add a personal message to a holiday or special event card…and know everyone’s birthday.

5. For special occasions, use handwritten notes…they show a willingness to nurture the relationship in a way that an email doesn’t. They show the recipient that they are important to you.

6. Set up Google Alerts for the folks on your “list” so that you don’t miss important updates.

7. Even though the number of social media outlets seems to grow by the minute, choose those that you are comfortable with and use them.

8. Go to events and “invite” important colleagues to join you there.

9. When at an event and in general, be helpful and consider what the other person really needs. For example, if a particular introduction is needed, find a way to make it happen.

10. Very Important: Keep good notes… remember not only birthdays, but also names of children or key colleagues. Inquire about them—but do so because you do actually care.

Remember, every relationship is a building block for success and happiness, and each needs to be nurtured. Put in the effort, and work at staying in touch in an authentic, memorable, and meaningful way. It’s definitely worth your time and effort.

Diane Stemler, MS, MT-ASCP
(o) 267-983-6506


(Diane joined The Synergy Organization in 2017 as an Executive Search Consultant and is now our Senior Director, Client Relationships.) • 866-HIRE-123