Smartcuts vs. Shortcuts; Micro vs. Macro Relationship Management

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By Mike Muhney 

Technology has made almost every activity in our daily lives easier and faster. This enables us to accomplish so much more than previous generations not only more quickly but in some cases, seemingly effortlessly.  It has given us the means to produce results in less time and helped us to free up more time for other things in our daily lives.  Our productivity is boosted dramatically.
For example, take the microwave oven.  Most of us enjoy the convenience of a hot meal virtually immediately.  Having said that, I’m sure none of us would wish to have a microwaved TV dinner every night, compared to the more likely healthier and pleasurable home-cooked meal that takes more effort, time, and care to prepare.  The distinction is that investment in time is proportionate to the enjoyment of the end result.  There is no way around it.

The dictionary defines a shortcut as “a method or means of doing something more directly and quickly than and often not so thoroughly as by ordinary procedure”.  It is that word “thoroughly” that ought to stand out to you when it comes to your approach to your relationships where the intent and need is to create, develop, and sustain meaningful relationships that produce effective and valuable results over long periods of time, and with it further strengthening your reputation across your various networks.  When it comes to building deep and enduring relationships, as Tina Turner sings in Proud Mary, they just can’t be achieved “nice and easy.”

Some of the synonyms for the word shortcut are perhaps more blunt including bypass, dodge, get around, and sidestep.  None of these can be used to describe the process of building purposeful relationships.  Cooking food quickly and having immediate information results are fine for those types of needs, but the same cannot be applied by the use of technology toward relationship development and management.

Technology can certainly help you learn about a person in the beginning of what could become a real relationship.  However, with all of its power and speed, technology is not a substitute for what it takes to produce satisfying, and hopefully, repeatable results.  You don’t even need technology for that.  What do you need?  You need to resist the urge to confuse immediate gratification without true investment and instead place value on constructing relationships that last.

The double-edged sword of technology gives immediate self-gratification by helping forge emotional connections but maintaining them requires discipline and ongoing effort.  The pursuit of healthy and rewarding relationships exists in proportion to the amount of time, intensity, trust, and reciprocity that you have poured into them.

In other words, the rewards are worth the investment.  To that end, we must consistently reevaluate why we are building relationships and whether the desired outcomes are worth the effort required to attain them.

Shortcuts lead to shallow relationships and offer little depth from which to draw upon in the future.  To achieve consistent success from your relationships, don’t look for shortcuts.  Instead make “smartcuts” by applying those thoughtful efforts and actions that lead to real, enduring, and reliable relationships.  In other words, it’s those smart efforts vs. expeditious ones that will result in what I like to call the social capital of relationship value.

You may rely on technology and social media to provide immediate information on someone but if that’s as far as you go, you’ll never know how that relationship could have progressed or what opportunities it might have afforded.  This “macro” view leads you to believe that through technology-enabled information shortcuts, relationship results will be achieved.  Unfortunately, this is at odds with the investment of effort and “relationship drill-down” built over time required to produce solid networks, personal and professional.

Where social media blasts and email newsletters are an effective means of communicating a message to an audience, they don’t do much in the way of building a lasting connection.  The opposite to this “macro” approach could be as simple as sending a text message at a crucial time such as the anniversary of a loved one’s passing.

As it applies to relationships, “smartcuts” may be calendar reminders and push notifications to follow up with someone after you get together or talk on the phone.  Those “micro” efforts have lasting effects on how others perceive you and in turn how they perceive your value of them.  The irony of making “smartcuts” is that they not only produce big results, they can lead to a shortcut on your path toward achieving your personal goals and ultimately your overall success.

Mike Muhney is the co-inventor of ACT!, the software product credited as the catalyst of the entire Customer Relationship Management industry.  Mike is also the CEO & co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creators of Vipor CRM apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.  You can contact Mike online at www.viporbit.com.

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