Email is out of control in the corporate America.
More and more people believe they have completed a task by emailing someone to do something. No follow-up, no tracking and no attempt to make sure the email recipient has the time to complete the task. I sent you the email, now this is your problem.
What’s worse are emails that describe something that I might not need to know for several weeks. The burden is transferred away by emailing what you want done to scores of people. It is now the responsibility of each employee to hold onto that information until they need it. Some people will store it in their user directory, some people will print it, some (like me) will just leave it in their inbox.
Folks, if you are creating reference material, put it some place where people can find it. Better yet, put it somewhere people can find the most recent version. See the difference? One person is filing the reference material instead of everyone that need the information. This is the purpose of corporate intranets.
One more email rant, you are not doing your job if you send an email to the widest possible audience so each person can decide if they need the information. It is the senders job to target the email to the correct audience.
I receive well over a thousand email messages a week. Don’t assume that I am going to remember your email. I have a pretty good memory, but I am not Google. I cannot index that much information. Business people need to stop thinking that sending an email is the completion of a task.
Email has just become a crux for all of us. As the CIO I need to help people see these behaviors and understand that they are counter-productive. I need to make sure that the corporate intranet is easy to update and is usable. I need to investigate tools like Yammer for moving nice-to-know information out of email. I am looking forward to new technologies, like Google Wave, to help us parse all of this.
What do you think?
PS, I have to give credit to Kevin Behr for the phrase “I am not Google.”
PSS, I have been guilty of all of these things. I am trying to do better.