Typically, each night around 10:00 or 11:00, I find myself on the couch with my feet propped up and my iPad in my hands. With work, exercise and family obligations behind me, I relax by playing some of my favorite games such as Scramble with Friends and Words with Friends.
But there are weeks when I find myself either too busy or too tired and end up missing a few consecutive nights. And when I return to my game, it’s not unusual to find a “Nudge!” left by my opponent reminding me to take my turn.
I consider it a gentle nudge. It doesn’t flash, make noises or do anything else annoying. And, because I’m competitive and strive to meet my obligations, even if it is just a game, I actually appreciate the reminder.
As a Relationship Manager, sometimes I need to apply gentle nudges.
Every summer, I hold planning meetings with my clients, with the goal of building Engagement Calendars for the upcoming school year that align well with their strategic initiatives. During these planning meetings, as we work to identify dates for the deployment of the districts’ research and communications projects, I include a slide that identifies some of the inherent risks of our work. These include:
- Clients will become busy, very busy and then too busy.
- The schedule established in the Engagement Calendar will be disregarded due to a crowded end-of-year schedule.
When I get to that slide, I let my audience know that I may send them gentle reminders and nudges in order to keep our work on track.
With an increasingly busy schedule, competing priorities and an influx of hundreds of new emails every day, superintendents may unintentionally or intentionally allow our work to slip off their radar. But my gentle nudges appear to be well received and appreciated. In fact, I believe they have helped me build stronger relationships with my clients because they find comfort in knowing that I won’t let them go astray or lose sight of the goals they’ve identified during our engagement planning sessions.
So the next time you receive a nudge, thank the person who sent it your way and make sure that you take your turn in a timely fashion.