email symbol on row of colourful envelopes

Another string of e-mails…Whew.  Why am I even included on this one?

I’ve been in two meetings back to back…How can I have 174 e-mails waiting for me?

Sure, I’d love to disconnect while I am on vacation…but the e-mails will keep coming in.  Can you imagine my inbox after 1 week?

My phone buzzes all night like a broken alarm clock…Are those my e-mails at 3:15 am?

Does this sound like you and your unchosen love affair with e-mails?

This romantic moment began with the development in the early 1960’s of timesharing computers, and accelerated in 1993, with the official launch of e-mail as we know it today through the large network service providers America Online and Delphi.

It changed our lives forever.  Some of you were not yet able to read in 1993, but for some of us, it rocked our world.  In 1993, The Dow closed at 3654, gas for our  new ford probe was $1.

16 per gallon, Beanie Babies were born, Harley was only 90, and we were singing along with Whitney Houston, and Arrested Development (the band, not the tv show).  We were not concerned with wondering where the next e-mail would come from, or who might Cc: us in one of their messages to a crowd of uncaring readers in the middle of the night.

In 1993 we also thrived by communicating with out mass quantities of e-mails.  In 1993 I still talked to people “live”.

“Im not saying we need a divorce from our e-mail companion of 21 years, but this 7 year itch is 3x overdue and we need some recalibration.  The worst part of this affair, is that we have been coerced into believing e-mail makes us feel like we’re Getting Things Done.”

Let’s start another revolution.  If each of us follows a few simple rules of e-mail etiquette, we may change the world again.

Here’s 10 ideas for kick starting our revolution;

  • Start at the top. Harvard Business Review cited a hypothesis that a reduction in executive e-mail outflow would prompt a reduction in employee outflow.  It aimed to cut the number of e-mails sent by the top team members by 20% within four months.  Taking on the challenge, Within three months the team’s total e-mail output in the test dropped by 54%.
    • Teach executives to be more deliberate in their e-mail use.
    • Ask them to set a target for reducing the number of messages they send, and include it in their performance goals.
    • Give them weekly feedback.
  • Networking Computers Magazine cites several simple but effective ideas.
    • Get rid of group emails. Lose the distribution lists, departmental aliases, and company-wide email broadcasts. Make email a one-to-one medium.
    • Slash the supply. Reduce wasteful email by making it a valuable commodity, like oil or gold. Limit employees to a certain number of emails per day or week — 15, for example, or 20 if you’re feeling generous.
    • Get up off your tookus. If you sit two desks over from someone, get up and speak to them in person. Give the finger-tapping a rest. Get up, stretch those legs. Most of us could stand to shed a few pounds anyway.
    • Please, no more manners. Stop being so darned polite. Consider how many emails we’d prevent if we deleted every “thank you” or “you’re welcome” or “no problem” from the digital lexicon. The thank-you economy is in
      hyperinflation mode. By all means, be good to people — but for the sake of the inbox, do it
  • I’ve got some additional ideas, & perhaps you do too.  Get creative.
    • Don’t send me a Cc:  If I’m on a “Cc:” line, I may read it. But I’m not reading it in real time. The mail was not made out TO: me, and I simply do not have time to take action on such messages.  If you want to send ME an E-mail, send it TO me.
    • Another thought on your Cc:ing me…It should not require any action on my part. If a you expect direct action, then send the e-mail directly TO me.
    • What does Twitter know that we don’t?  Challenge others in your revolution to keep their e-mail to less than 140 characters. (like this.)

What is your idea to start the revolution?

If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 

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