Filed in .
I heard the following anecdote the other day:
‘When I arrived I was told I should put every in writing as an email. This didn’t make sense to me and was contrary to how I normally worked, so I kept relying on conversations to get things done--at least until I was burnt the first time. Now I put everything in an email.’
This illustrates the power of email in embedding culture. In this case, it creates a culture of blame and mistrust. Contrast this approach with that of the New York diamond traders who conduct a majority of their business without contracts--business is done on a hand-shake. Think of the improvements in efficiencies and responsiveness!
I remember Dave Snowden describing email as an ‘addiction’, and suggesting that organisations should develop a ‘detox’ program--perhaps even disable the email platform for a while as ‘cold turkey’ therapy!
Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with email, and you will no doubt have your own. But here are a couple of approaches (perhaps you could call them ‘policies’) that people have adopted in an attempt to affect the culture of their companies positively.
- send an email only if the information is going to a group;
- avoid sending email to someone who is on the same floor--walk over and talk instead;
- routinely delete emails when you have been cc’ed;
- never use ‘bcc’ when all of the recipients of the email are colleagues;
- set up an online collaboration place and conduct discussions there--rather than sending email back and forth.
Do you have other examples of how email can be used to foster trust?
Love to hear them.