Effectiveness Trumps Efficiency
"Innovation is not only about rethinking products, but also rethinking the nature of relationships.” - Howard Schultz
Yes, we prefer small batch craft coffee roasted with care over the meh-coffee of Starbucks anyway, but Howard Schultz may be onto something.
I still remember being in a meeting with one of ipso's creative directors and our lead partner telling us that he wants our physical mail and postage expense to be massive. He wants to get so hospitable that we cramp from all the hand written birthday cards, thank you notes, and other gifts we send to our tribe (read: not just our paying clients).
Our philosophy of business is to help humans flourish—and a strategy to accomplish this flourishing is the act of cultivating.
Note that cultivating is a verb, an action word. Your network, in order to flourish, takes work. And often times it takes doing the things that don’t scale (in this particular example: hand writing cards). And as Schultz noted it takes rethinking the nature of relationships. Fighting to make the historically transactional, transformational.
There is a paradoxical beauty in doing the most human things like hand writing letters, following up with a genuine "thank you", or calling someone just to say "Hello, I’m thinking of you” or "I’m sorry".
Paradoxical in that these tactics are easy to implement (ie. they take no special expertise or technology), yet are highly effective (they delight people and get you on their radar, get heard, get noticed, and get remembered).
The effectiveness is only multiplied by the fact that very few people take the time and conscientious forethought to do these things.
The relative inefficiency is massively trumped by the infinite effectiveness.
Keep on delighting.
NEED IDEAS? HBR's "7 Ways to Thank People In Your Network" by Able's Evan Baehr is an absolute gem.