A long time ago, a manager I had at the time once remarked that "if it weren't for people, this job would be easy". What an exquisitely understated and eloquent point.
I bring this up because, like James Snell, I work from home. My manager works in another state, and we see each other perhaps twice a year. But most importantly, most of the people I work closely with are scattered across the world and many work for other companies. Most I have only met a few times -total. Many I will never meet.
My advice is different than James's. But before I share it, two questions:
- Are your goals different than your co-workers?
- Do you have a limited attention span for items that are not related to your goals?
If so, then the first thing to recognize when dealing with others - be it co-workers, competitors, or people you are presenting to is:
- The people you interact with have different goals than you do.
- They have a limited attention span for items not related to their goals as they perceive them at the moment.
So, for starters, be as self reliant as possible. But as most of the time you need to work with people, recognize that you are generally asking them to do somehting that you are unable or unwilling to do yourself, and ack accordingly.