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Scott and Cam

A Wedding, A Reunion and A Question

Scott and Cam

Over the weekend I had the privilege of attending a wedding. Not the royal festivities in London, but rather for the daughter of one of my best friends from high school. This young bride married her childhood sweetheart at an outdoor venue near Charlotte, NC. It was a steamy affair once that sun escaped the clouds!

Along with the chance to celebrate this special event, I was excited to reconnect with my friend, Cameron. We hadn't seen each other in several years, but that is irrelevant to either of us whenever we make/take the time to get together. He's just one of those friends. (Hopefully you have a few people in your life like that)

His responsibilities as Father-of-the-bride naturally limited any time for personal conversation, but we joyfully chatted briefly while the music at the reception loudly thumped to classic 80's music in the background. We made plans to play some golf soon.

I love having friends like Cameron, but most relationships aren't that tolerant of such inactivity.

Relationships Matter

Relationships Matter--to everyone and especially to school leaders. They impact your Health, your Leadership, your Career, and your Productivity. And your ability to build relationships with your family, friends, faculty, and funders is heavily dependent on your habits of communication.

In order to achieve your goals for personal and professional success, HOW you communicate is exponentially more important than WHAT you communicate. As a matter of fact, researchers at MIT have concretely demonstrated that your patterns of communication are as significant to your success as all the other factors--intelligence, personality, skill, and the content of messages--all combined!

Unfortunately, you probably didn't learn this in your formal education, but there's still time for you to make some adjustments in order to benefit from this relationship-building advantage.

Without the right communication habits, tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even email can actually degrade your relationships and your engagement with your people.

Would you like to self-assess the effectiveness of your communication habits? If so, below is the first question to consider, and it focuses on how well you plan and prepare for sharing your messages. (Success favors the prepared)

Question No. 1: Do you have a communication protocol that defines a disciplined process for sharing information and using media? (+, +/-, -) 

The word "protocol" is just a fancy way of describing the rules and activities that you use to communicate. Most often these are unwritten, informal habits that you use everyday to determine how, when, what, and to whom your messages are shared. This protocol specifies how interactions will be managed between the various levels of people in your life.

To achieve your goal of stronger relationships, prioritizing the people is very important. Whether at school or at home, some people should receive preferential treatment when it comes to sharing your messages. (More on that in the next question)

Your use of personal (face-to-face, phone call, handwritten note) and technology-based communications should be planned to maximize the engagement you want/have with each person in your network--or your Grapevine, as Marvin Gaye and I like to call it.

Formalizing your communication protocol is a wise move. Write it down and follow it religiously. (and equip your board to do the same)

Communication ISN'T your real goal! Engagement IS!!

What you want is greater trust and deeper relationships with your board, your colleagues, your community, and your entire platform of influence. And that starts by creating and implementing a disciplined communication protocol.

How do you rate on this first question regarding your communication habits? (+, +/-, -)


For more information on creating a communication protocol and Mastering Your Grapevine, visit

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