One of my collegues is the father of two very successful standards worldwide. Besides having an endless dedication to making sure his babies are successful, many have often wondered how he does it. I think today I just figured it out, and it mirrors an approach that I've started taking at a somewhat smaller scale. He has his ears out for every single activitity that is remotely related to the work. As soon as he hears something interesting, he adds a bit of sage advice (probably more than a bit), to point people in the direction he would like to see them go.
Now if you do this enough times, eventually one of these interactions will end up with a positive result. Also, you will gain experience figuring out how much of your time you should invest in each one. It's like building a venture portfolio. You fund 10 ideas, and if 1 of those succeeds you at least break even or better, and if two of them do, you make a killing.
One of the things that I realize being at PHIN is how many different projects there are going on where I can make a small difference in direction to get people pointing in the same direction. One of the things that I can do is be a connector (read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell) of people and projects. By investing just a little of my time to get the right people talking to each other, I can get more people moving in the same direction (usually). More and more I find myself using one of my collegues favorite phrases "You need to talk to ...".
Sometimes I'm on the recieving end of these communications (and not just from my collegue, although he accounts for many of these). I ignore these introductions at my own peril. Too many times, the person telling me this is right, I need to be talking to more people and getting more opinions and buy-in from diverse groups.
The power of having two or more diverse groups moving in the same direction is best understood by looking what happened with CCR and CDA, which produced CCD. CCD is now the basis for our national standards, and basically means that CCR has permanently influenced CDA. This is a good thing.
The same thing happened recently with IHE and The Continua Health Alliance. These two organizations were moving in nearly the same direction, but hadn't converged on the same solutions. Last week they announced that after working together for several months, they have converged on the same solution, which is now being looked at by ANSI/HITSP to resolve gaps for device connectivity.
So, who do you need to talk to, and who should I be talking to. Let's talk.