Sunday, February 10, 2008

EMail-Free Day

We all share a similar complaint: Too much email. Communication skills get weaker and weaker. No one holds face-to-face dialogue any more. Our in-boxes are filled with more mail than we can handle. Most of it is junk...sent by people we will probably never know...about stuff we don't even care!

I took a stand. I pulled the plug. For one day (24 hours), we shut down the email server. Nothing came in. Nothing went out. Instead, all meetings were face-to-face. People had to get out of their cubicles and go conduct business the old fashioned way. Employees were encouraged to make phone calls, hold meetings, contact customers, conduct counseling, etc. In other words -- old-school communication!

Feedback was mixed. Many absolutely loved it. Some hated it. A few probably found a way to cheat the system and used their private email addresses. But I think everyone got the message. We have lost our way and need to remember what it was like to communicate the way we used to -- person to person, one-on-one. Facial expressions are more than ;) and :( and can only be evaluated -- eyeball to eyeball!

We conducted an AAR (After Action Review) at the end of the 24 hours of e-mail free bliss and captured lessons learned for the next time. And oh, yes...there will be a next time! Go ahead -- pull the plug! You know you want to! Old-school communication skills are Leader Business.


runner7 said...

If you really want communications to change, try an e-mail free week. Anyone can delay for 24 hr, but not so much for a week. But some type of general e-mail account should still be available for approved emergency communications.

Tom Magness said...

Hey're right! That would really send a message. I figured I needed to start with something -- in our case at least 24 hours. Your idea may be next!

Anonymous said...

How about