The Value of Friends

 In the next few days, we will all begin our journey into the new year. A new decade. It promises to be an adventure, filled with excitement and new opportunities. There will be new tools and technologies, new markets, new clients, new staff,  and new ideas. There will be much to attain in order to call 2010 a success, however you measure it. I do believe it will be a good year ahead.

One key to your success will be our friendships. None of us would survive without the support of the people around us. Too often our friends are taken for granted. Usually it is not on purpose. It just happens. The multitude of “social” tools that better connect us all, leaves little time to devote to sustaining the truly valued friendships that keep us going. I know I am guilty of it as much as anyone else.

My job is about building “business friendships” with a community around world. This extended family is stretched wide, but never as deep as I wish. I want to find ways to be better at pulling us all together to face the challenges that will come. I want “us” to be more of a “we” this coming year.

As a network, we already use many of the tools to connect each other as best we can. The technology is here to be used by all, and some of us do try hard to utilize them whenever possible. This is great. We need to do more of it. We need more of you to consistently participate.  Use the email, the web site, the blogs, the discussion groups, twitter, linked-in, facebook, webinars. All of them. Okay, choose a few that work best for you. The key is to use them often. Believe me, in time you will see significant value.

With all these opportunities to connect at our disposal, the best still remains to be our regular gatherings. Our meetings. The chance to develop and renew our trust and friendships. To “see” each other in person. To share with each other. To learn more about who each of us is, and what drives us to achieve. To experience the triumphs and mishaps that happen within every agency, and “feel” the effects firsthand. This can be hard to do via emails and blogs. You need to look into the eyes of your friends and share the excitement and sorrow. You need to sit across the room from your friend and listen to each other. You need to share a late night drink and really talk about what’s happening. This is why participation in meetings is a mandatory requirement of membership. It is about what you will learn from the others, as much as what you will bring to them in return.

The concept of network meetings is not unique. Many other organizations believe in the merits of these events. It is the uniqueness of each TAAN meeting that set us apart from all the others. We do not gather to sell ourselves. We come together to open up to our friends. To ask for ideas and solutions, to test our theories and share our methods. We all want our friends to learn and succeed, and share in the successes together. We all compete on many fronts in this industry. We all need to utilize the capacity that exists within our member agencies to deliver solutions for clients that will go beyond each other’s competitors. You have friends that want to help you win. So, plan your year so that you will leave time in your beyond hectic schedule to get to as many meetings as possible. We will be in some fantastic places in the coming year: Cancun, Rome, Wilmington, Bucharest. There will be valuable topics presented and discussed. Don’t miss attending!

My goal for TAAN in 2010 is to strengthen the bonds between us all. There will be many tasks that are elements within this goal. Some efforts will be more successful than others. But know that my aim is to pull together our alliance, our team, our network of friends that want to share in each other’s triumphs and support other’s missions to create meaningful solutions for agencies, for clients, for people in all corners of the globe. I know we all have friends that are out there, ready to offer a hand, in a collective effort to create success for each other. TAAN should be a big part of your group of friends.

This concept of “a network of friends” is what TAAN is about.

We will not reach our goals without the support of our friends. If you are part of the TAAN network of friends, I ask you to dig in deeper and share with each other. If you are not yet part of the network, come join us. It is well worth your investment.

I do want to thank you all for the friendship that each of you shared with me this past year. Please know that it means a lot to me.

May 2010 be a great year for all.
Happy New Year, my friends.