How many emails do you get each day? 25? 50? 100? How many of them do you actually need to read or actually act upon? Do you get asked a lot of questions by the people you manage or work with? Well I may have the answer. Read on…….
A top exec in IBM has taken a bold step to rid himself of 98% of his emails which he used to spend his time going through each day. He just doesn’t do it any more.
He has embraced social media and now uses this as his primary method of communication. He still checks his emails everyday. He takes every question that isn’t private and confidential and answers them in a public internal forum. By publishing both the question and the answer, he kills two birds with one stone. He creates a FAQ section in an internal social setting in order to provide a knowledge bank. This prevents many of the questions being sent to him in the first place. By making this open and searchable, over time, people choose to look for an answer there before sending an email in the first place. People learn that this is an effective way to communicate with the exec and they start to post questions in this place which further reduces the emails that he receives. Everyone is a winner. The exec gets more free time to do other tasks and the people who work under him and around him get an answer far quicker than they ever could have expected.
For external communications he could set up a blog to communicate the information on a one to many, rather than a one to one basis, further increasing his productivity.
Of course, there will always be times when answering a question in a public, social environment will not be appropriate. In these circumstances you can set up a restricted access, collaborative work space where you can limit who can see the information.
There may be the odd one-off confidential email that you won’t want to put on the social web but these occasions are probably few and far between. If you could reduce 50 emails to a couple per day, that wouldn’t be a bad start.
It may not be practical in your role to dictate to others around you, how they communicate with you. However if you work as an exec or in the C-suite, then give it a moment’s thought. How much time do you spend on your emails each day? Could you think of anything better that you would do with this time, if you could cut it in half? I think you might already be warming to the idea………
What would you do with the extra time each day? Do you think it would work in your organisation? Do you think it would improve your productivity?