Could Your Communications be Better?

Could Your Communications be Better?

In just about every organisation we have worked with, staff have commented that communications could be better, but nobody seemed able to describe what “better” might look like! There was one exception.

One managing director, after finding that cleaning out his inbox sometimes felt like a full-time job in itself, decided that “better” meant fewer emails. He instigated a campaign with his managers which was quickly cascaded to and across all levels of the company. It was quite simple and involved all managers actively policing their inboxes and hunting down anyone from inside or outside the organisation who had sent them an unnecessary email. They were to actively speak to the sender, ideally face to face but otherwise by telephone, who then had to explain why they had included that manager in the distribution list. The manager, in turn, would explain why they considered it unnecessary and its negative impact.

Doing this by email was banned, as it would have been self-defeating and failed to impress upon the sender how seriously the issue was on impacting productivity. The initial time costs of doing this were more than paid for by its positive impact.

The result was a rapid and marked reduction in needless email traffic and left managers with more time to do their jobs.
It also forced senders to become much more selective with the cc distribution, and made them police their own inboxes in a similar manner.

Although this approach did little to improve the effectiveness of communications, it placed an aggressive demand for better quality control and managers taking a face-to-face stance on the issue of changing bad habits.