backing up relationships

What's stopping you We all know the importance of backing up files. We may not do so regularly, but we know that we have pictures and essays and research and poems which, if somehow deleted, would wreck us.

Just now, I started to write a tweet: “have you backed up your vital files recently?” It sounded like a good public service tweet. And then I went on: “What about your vital relationships?”

I sent the tweet. And then I thought,  “What would backing up relationships even look like?”

So I’m asking you.

11 responses to “backing up relationships

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention backing up relationships « Levite Chronicles -- Topsy.com

  2. Very good question. I’m much better at backing up my business relationships than my personal ones.

    Which is more vital? We always get this prioritized wrong (or maybe they can be the same).

    My initial thoughts…

    I’m not a big user of Facebook, but it puts old friends in my field of view from time-to-time, but the conversations are shallow.

    Twitter has almost too much stuff to even keep up with vital relationships. Although, Twitter Lists have vastly improved things.

    Good old fashion email works, but you have to be disciplined in “tickling” your memory to touch base.

    My favorite, a handwritten note, never seems to really happen the way I envision it.

    I’m very curious to hear from experts. Hoping to improve.

  3. Backing up vital relationships
    -taking time to listen
    -calling just to catch up
    -sending a card for no reason
    -making comments on Facebook (I enjoy keeping up with my grown daughters friends and family)
    -sending information ‘out of the blue’ to clients, potential clients and friends.

  4. Backing up vital relationships usually happens when I read a post like this and realize I need to make a few phone calls, send a few e-mails, and log into Facebook and leave some comments. Thanks for the inspiration…

  5. Bill and Barbara –

    I chuckle as I read your comments. Your lists overlap so much. Barbara talks about these as things that work. Bill talks about them as things that might work, but aren’t. The issue is not about what would work as ways to touch but how to make sure the touches happen. So the challenge is to discover a reminder system, to automate the process.

    That is, of course, the very challenge with backing up files. We know how, we just can’t remember when.

    So how do we make sure that we remember to remember? That is the challenge.

  6. Jon,

    Very interesting. Let me add to the conundrum. I would submit that (in general) people will specifically ignore or avoid these systems.

    Why? I’m not entirely certain, but I will share two personal insights.

    First, in creating and delivering a new kind of CRM (we called it lead management before that was trendy) we started with the goal of “no lead left behind.” In our system, using a “Get My Next Lead” concept you can never miss following up on a lead. In fact, if you don’t follow-up you can’t get new leads.

    Believe it or not it’s a tough sell. Many organizations get frustrated that they can’t keep shoving new leads into a sales person’s pipeline if they aren’t working the ones they already have?!

    Second, and much more personal. How many times have I ignored an email, let a call go to voicemail, or ignored a reminder on my calendar to contact a friend or colleague? Too many. I can tell you why I’ve done it. Usually, I knew it was going to be a longer conversation than I felt I had time for. Bad excuse.

    The longer and the more often I behave like that the more I feel like that conversation will be too long. Guess what? I have lost more than one relationship that way.

    I guess my deeper thought is automation is easy, behavior modification is hard.

    Maybe we need to discipline ourselves to value the relationship more. I think this will still be challenging because we naturally equate value to short-term goals (think about our salvation–many are comfortable considering it later, when we’re older–danger).

    Here are a couple of things I try to do. I never let a call go to voicemail unless I’m on the phone. I try to return calls and emails in 24 hours.

    I still fail to make good appointments to backup my relationships. Note to self: area for growth.

  7. GREAT question Jon! Reminds me of the books “Vital Friends” by Tom Rath and “Power of Who” by Bob Beaudine. Both speak to the importance of fostering relationships with the people who contribute most to our lives. I think even Jesus did this didn’t he? I mean, he didn’t foster deep relationships with everyone he met – but there were a few… and he really invested in them.

    Makes me wonder who are the people I’m investing in, and where am I missing the mark….

  8. How many people actually bother to back up relationships these days?

    Most of the time, people only contact me when they want something, and if I contact someone for no special reasons other than to ‘back up’ a relationship, their reaction is more or less “why are you wasting my time?”

    I remember noticing 20 years ago – in the last big recession – how people’s behaviour became a lot more ‘transactional’ when times got tough.

  9. All great comments. To me back up is saving something in order to have access to it again. I first thought of technology but then realized that for me backing up relationships is all about creating memories, collective history, listening to the heart of what is being said.

    I do this poorly. I am trying to make better use of photos, notes anything that will jog my memory. I suppose for me the conviction of this post is a challenge to create content worth backing up in the first place!

    Jon you referred to the infrequent meeting with your friend and now you are jotting notes in anticipation of a better future. This feels a lot like backing up to me.

    Thanks for the challenge.

  10. liam – so, does that leave an interesting business and personal opportunity? To actually be someone who cares?

    Your recession-related correlation is very intriguing. Thanks!

  11. Joe – you are capturing the concept very well. It looks like Bill and you and I standing by the coffee at SOBcon, talking about Donald Miller. That’s what a back-up looks like.