A doctor recently commented that he found telemedicine to be a great tool for conducting follow up visits but found it less than ideal for the initial diagnosis. He felt that things were missed if the assessment and relationship were started virtually and cautioned about adopting telemedicine as a wholesale substitute for office visits.


I feel the same way about virtual meetings and conducting business online. Zoom and other video conferencing seem to work well for those with whom I have an existing relationship. It’s great to chat with the family and works well for those clients that I have met many times in person — but it is challenging to use to form a connection or to initiate a project.


If you find yourself in a situation where face-to-face is impossible, it is worth the effort to invest a seemingly-excessive amount of time to focus on the relationship-building first. Spend that first meeting getting to know each other before you dive right into the project logistics. Be vulnerable and open enough to become a colleague rather than an impersonal face on a computer screen. Craft a framework for how you will work together before focusing on the work itself.


Getting the people-portion right will effectively drive the project portion as well.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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