How did we ever manage without email? It’s difficult to imagine, and for those of us old enough hard to remember, what we used to do instead.
Yet for all its benefits, it also has its negatives, the biggest being the way it depersonalises relationships.
- We email people in the next office, rather than go and talk with them.
- We email our frustrations and other emotional reactions rather than go and talk them through.
- We attempt to resolve complex work situations via email, rather than trying to work them out face to face.
We have forgotten that doing business and running sustainable and successful organisations is about relationships. It’s the relationships between people that make or break a project or deal.
Email is one of the most ineffective ways of building connection and engagement,
of building sustainable relationships.
So the challenge here is:
Use email as little as possible internally in your organisation and begin engaging, communicating, relating and connecting in a real way with one another – – and watch to see the results!
If you need a written record, or a paper trail, write the email AFTER you have had the conversation. Make it a record of what was shared, decided and agreed upon.
Don’t say that it can’t be done, because if there’s the will, there’s a way.
Six weeks before the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Jim Sloman OAM and COO of the Games, turned off all internal email for everyone involved in organising the Games. They couldn’t completely turn it off because they had to liaise with Olympic committees around the world, governments, sponsors and other external organisations. He did, however, cut out local email and insisted people work face to face or by phone.
“It’s a very dynamic event”, he said, “you haven’t got time to be bloody sending emails to people and hoping they might read and respond to them. You have to talk face to face or on the pohone or on a walkie talkie and make the decisions that have to be made”.
If the Olympic Games committee can do it, so can all of us.