Last week I wrote a post about reducing the reliance on email within the organization … I got quite a bit of feedback on that one and wanted to see if people out there would be interested in discussing more about what they are doing to combat the email inbox bloat that continues to happen. I figure since the post got a strong reaction and judging by some of the comments we are all beginning to notice that email is failing as a primary communications channel. As an aside I sat in a meeting yesterday morning listening to a guy talk about how he only checks his mail three times a day … WTF! “How do you get away with that,” I asked. He just said that email isn’t important and if people want an answer, “they’ll just have to call me.” Wow … I wouldn’t be able to that off … how about you?
I have also really started to think about what our array of tools should look like to support a collaboration platform that doesn’t rely solely on email. I asked the question of some friends last night that we discussed for quite some time — how long did it take us to convince each other, our bosses, family, friends, etc that email should be the way we communicate and do business? I am going to say the adoption curve for me was right around 2-3 years … now keep in mind when I got on email it was all new, shiny, and not many people knew what the hell I was talking about. But now email is the primary communication platform. What made the conversation interesting was that it pushed to the realization that it make take us 2-3 years to move an organization away from the email paradigm. It honestly stands to reason if you subscribe to the notion that culture takes three years to change.
So, long post about not much more than the original, but with a real set of questions that I would like to generate some discussion around … what should the tools be (both for an intranet and internet) to support an environment where email is minimized? What are the right kinds of strategies for making that transition happen in a compressed time frame? And finally, can we really expect to change the behavior of not only our own organizations, but other ones out there? Is email to embedded in what our organizational cultures have become? Thoughts?