Why are we still connected?

Are you connected to people in LinkedIn that you don’t know, have never talked to or even exchanged an email with since the day you connected?  Are there connections that don’t return your phone calls, emails or texts?  What about the people you have asked for help, information or an introduction, do they come through for you?

Lately I have been wondering why I am connected to people who don’t want to play in the sandbox with me.  It could be that I have done something or said something that has alienated me, and yet maybe I have done nothing wrong.  Like most people it take a lot to go in and disconnect a connection.  Not that it is technically hard, but it is emotionally hard to make that decision.

I have taken to going through my list of connections and asking myself if we should stay connected.  The answer is easier when I have asked for anything and I get a zero response.  When I may have connected with them because of their role within a company, industry or field but that has now changed, I take a second look to see if it makes sense to stay connected.  I ask myself if we were not connected, would I be sending them an invitation to connect today?

Some folks I realize are into collecting connections.  They are shooting for a large number of “followers” to show how vital they are, or how much people need their words of wisdom.  The greater number of connections gives them a good feeling about themselves.  I am not one of these people.

Several months ago I realized I had a large amount of people who I used to work with at a former employer that is now out of business.  In some ways, connecting in LinkedIn was our way to remain together.  There is even an alumni group that many joined too.  Yet I connected to obtain future consulting work from the company this particular group of people went to work for.  While most returned emails, and phone calls, and a few even met with me face to face, their focus was different from the one we had at the old company.  I didn’t see us ever working together, so I sent each of them a message asking if we should stay connected.  About half said yes and the other half didn’t reply.  So I disconnected from the ones that didn’t reply, and I have yet to hear from them

So I think it makes sense to sort through and weed out your LinkedIn contacts.  The clutter often makes it hard to find the people you want to work with and the people who you delete no longer have to read your daily updates.  Sounds like a win-win to me!


When The Facade Falls Off

27 years ago a sizeable earthquake hit my hometown and the destruction of some of the older buildings could have been prevented if the city fathers had been more into building codes rather than marketing facades.  The 100-year-old buildings were given a facelift on the front to freshen up the look of downtown, rather than rebuilding the content.  So when the earthquake came to town, the facades fell off, and the old buildings took a beating.

So what happens if a company operates the same way?  What happens when the marketing department is forced to create an image of what management thinks they are capable of, rather than describe reality.  Simple, they land up creating facades for everything.

One such company is on my radar because I am a recent customer through a merger.  I’m very impressed with their marketing and positioning, but as I learn more about individuals compared to their online bios, and experience less than satisfactory service due to second string talent running various departments, I realize that not only have I been duped into believing a lie, but that the façade is falling off.  What I thought was a great company is in reality not.

The only department that deserves an award at this point is marketing.  Wow, they have created an illusion of competency that doesn’t exist.  The company is not focused on employees or customers, but on their image and what they want people to believe exists.

Yet when the façade falls away, just like my hometown, all that will be left is the broken down structure.  No one will shop there, and finding real talent to replace the second string management and operational staffs will be nearly impossible for their recruiters.

Customers can leave for the competition, and the smart employees will leave for better jobs.  Or management could change now and take charge to make their facades less fake and a more permanent part of their culture.  I’m taking bets on what happens next.