Auld Lang Syne

I’m not trying to rush the end of the year, but I had an awesome month! Well, not a calendar month, but a period of 30 days. It started with a birthday party. There was a surprise birthday party for a former co-worker, Al, who has remained a good colleague. The party was out of town, but worth the three-hour drive. At the party I connected with two others, Sue and Jim, whom I'd not seen in a very long time. How wonderful to catch up on what we were doing personally and professionally, and to share our successes. Despite the geographical distances, we vowed to stay in touch – it’s easy since were all on LinkedIn.

It didn't stop there. There was a younger colleague, David, who had worked for Al. I didn't know him well, but now he is an entrepreneur who I may be able to support with some business. I also scheduled a lunch date with a retired colleague, Gus, who lives in my neck of the woods.

It didn't stop there either. Sue told me Stan (who couldn't make the party) was working on a project in DC. Well we connected and had dinner and great conversation. And he told me he's in touch with Dennis, who worked in the same division I did. So I was able to virtually touch base with him as well.

While my life since my corporate job has been good, I realized how much I missed these people. Although we all worked in different parts of the company and in some cases in different geographic locations, we were a cohesive group. We rocked it!

But it didn't stop there either. Right before the party I heard from Larry, another long time friend and business colleague who lives in Florida and is relocating near me. He was reaching out to network, and we were able to meet. We'd been very much involved in our professional organization, SHRM.

Speaking of SHRM, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that UC Santa Barbara's extension was using The Big Book of HR in one of its courses. How did they find the book? Well the instructor was another SHRM colleague who learned about it through LinkedIn.

This story continues with our presentation at the SHRM chapter of a dear friend, Marna. Again it was worth the drive not only to meet new professionals, but to spend time with her. That was followed by lunch with Sue (not the one from the party) and concludes with dinner with Janet and her spouse, who were visiting DC.

Our lives are enriched by the people around us, not just personally, but professionally. Colleagues become friends. They support us in so many ways, personally, professionally, and in our business endeavors. As business leaders (no matter how large or small your firm) you can never forget that people matter. We can grow our networks on LinkedIn or Facebook, but there is nothing like sharing good conversation with good people who've had an impact on your life. Grow your circle of good friends and colleagues. Call, write, ping, or otherwise reconnect with people you’ve not seen or talked with for a while. Resolve to network in 2014 - personally and virtually.

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.