How to Sharpen your E-mail in 2014

ImageOkay you don’t have time today to be provoked or provoking. No worries straight down to business so. Have a look at your inbox, look at the 10 most recent emails, for today or this week depending on your dependency. Now quickly answer this question: why are they still there? If you’re honest most will fall into 1 of these 3 categories;

  1. Reply needed; this mail needs a reply from you, only you, you need to think or research your answer, try your best to close the reply so you don’t end up in an email conversation. If clarity is required follow up with a visit or phone-call; send it, close it and delete it.
  2. I may need to read this later; a sales pitch, corporate update, interesting HBR management tip etc.  You’ll come back to it again and again: read it, don’t read it but delete it.
  3. Notification; so somebody has looked up your LinkedIn profile, favorited your tweet or liked your comment. If you have a goal of developing your online presence fine, put aside some time each day /week (dependency issues again) to engage if not delete & unsubscribe to these notifications.

What you will quickly find is how few emails need a reply from you and only you, these are the priority ones and require your attention and closing thoughts. Any emails that get deleted straight away should be unsubscribed, ones you may need later (really, do they?) should be put in a folder.  Be ruthless with email and gracious with your replies!

Why you’re giving recognition the wrong way

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Three giant mirrors will reflect sunlight onto the valley floor of a small Norwegian town for the first time in winter

The South Norwegian town of Rjukan, will be getting sunlight for the first time this winter. Situated below a mountain the small town of 3000 people is shaded by the mountainside between the months of September and March, but this year huge mirrors will reflect the Sun’s rays down onto the town.

The $825,000, 550 sq foot mirrors are a welcome and innovative approach to recognizing these inhabitants needs for what we all expect to receive. Is there a correlation with managing peoples’ expectations? Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch but a question I asked myself was why did they build a town in the shadow of a mountain? That kind of questioning we can use to discuss how well we’re reflecting light on our people. If we’re constantly having to recognize and illuminate the work of others we should ask ourselves these 3 questions:

  1. Results should naturally stand out – why are we having to shine a light on them?
  2. If we’re in constant praising and appraising mode – does the work not generate any satisfaction itself?
  3. Evaluate the job – how would you feel doing a job in the shade?

If somebody’s role or work is left in the shade it may be the wrong decision to reflect a light onto it, instead look for the root cause and ask yourself why was the job was designed in the dark?

How do you recognize peoples’ work that normally goes unrecognized?