Steps to Management Success – Step 81: Keep Your Rolodex Up to Date

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 2nd, 2010

STEP EIGHTY-ONE

Keep Your Rolodex Up to Date

By “Rolodex,” I may be indicating my age, but I mean any place where you keep your contact information, whether on cards, your Palm, or your PC. People move on. Numbers change. And you may simply neglect to enter new contacts—only to regret that fact when you urgently need to contact them.

WHAT IT MEANS: Your Rolodex is the key to your personal/professional network—everyone you know and might call upon one day with a question or for a favor or in regard to getting something done. And, like any valuable tool, it needs to be kept in good working condition. That means having accurate information (phone number, cell phone number, fax number, e-mail address, real-world address, how you know them, what they do, etc.) as well as continually and comprehensively adding new contacts as you make them. When adding to your Rolodex, you want to cast as wide a net as possible, because you never know who you might want or need to call. It’s better to have the number on file and not need it than to need it and not have it.

ACTION PLAN: Get into the habit of collecting names and numbers for most of the people you meet, both socially and in the course of your business day. This practice alone can give you the advantage of a fatter Rolodex and might encourage you to be more outgoing—a characteristic that can contribute significantly to your success. Try to add the new contact ASAP, or keep a file where new business cards and contact info can be stored until you can enter the data.

EVEN BETTER: Include useful notes that might help jog your memory. How did you meet this person? What does she do? Where did you meet? Basically, anything that can help you place the person in some meaningful context is potentially useful. Sometimes you will need to pick up the phone or shoot an e-mail to someone whom you haven’t connected to in quite some time, and at those times, having some context data on file can make the difference between having a contact and having the name and number of a complete stranger.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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