Friday, April 15, 2011

Managers. Can You Hear Me Now? and Email Distraction

One concept mentioned in the Now Habit is how we make problems more difficult than they are (I partly bring up the Now Habit again due to the wrong credit I gave earlier this week). The analogy that sticks in my head is "imagine walking 20 ft on a 2 by 6 laying on the ground (no trick here- on the wide side). Now image walking across the same 2 by 6 strung between 2 sky scrapers. We often make jobs difficult in our minds in a similar way."

I read Denny Strigl's new book "Managers, Can You Hear Me Now? Hard Hitting Lessons to Get Real Results.". Strigl is the former CEO of Verizon (and no, I do not yet know him).

The first chapter starts with "Why Managers Struggle". Things like failing to build trust and integrity, wrong focus, no accountability etc.

It then quickly moves into 8 other short chapters focusing around one key manager trait. My favourite chapter is on managing distractions (this is almost time management or at least a part of it). "The more managers focus on distractions, the less they focus on results".

And of course that chapter starts with email - the greatest efficiency tool in recent years and the greatest inefficiency as well. He has a list of how to manage email that is as good as any I have seen (there is always duplication in how to do it right).

His managing email list (paraphrased in some cases):

- keep emails short (those who know me, know I have this one down well)
- do not send to a group if only one person needs to know
- never send an email when you are angry
- before replying or even reading an email ask "what is the worst that could happen if I delete this"
- do not spend more than 5 minutes dealing with one email
- if your email beeps, turn off the beep
- do not judge how much you have accomplished by how many emails you send
- if you do not think you can go into a meeting without peeking at your email, skip the meeting

It is a good book for leaders and managers alike.

2 Comments:

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Guy Farmer said...

Thank you for the information Jim. I've frequently found it puzzling when people say they are so busy that they can't seem to get anything done. It's like the leader who runs around the day putting out fires but never gets anything done. Perhaps it's really about how they decide to manage their time.

 
At 5:55 PM, Anonymous FSW said...

This is great information for everyone. I've also been bewildered when people complain about being inundated with emails. I get a lot of emails but I've been able to manage them well. During times when I receive more than my usual, I block off 5-10 minutes at the beginning and 15 minutes at the end of the day to review them, and respond as necessary. Anything junk, gets deleted immediately. Anything not pertinent at the moment is saved in another folder for future reference.

I think people need to learn email etiquette as well. I have seen far too many "angry emails" within a corporate environment. The author is on the money when he says not to send an email when angry. I also think that at times, a quick visit to someone's office or a phone call, can reduce the excessive back and forth that transpires over email. This sometimes prevents misunderstandings and the angry tone in emails as well.

 

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