Here’s the full video:
Here are my notes on the highlights of what Luis and Claire think is wrong with email:
Email doesn’t help people focus on work ( 7:20) – it misdirects focus and attention. Stuff just flows in, recipient is expected to filter and sort ( 7:45). People don’t have time, so fall back to just emptying the inbox and treating their email as a task list. This leads to inefficiency through constant task-switching ( 8:10).
The inefficiencies are not about the technology, but about the human behaviours it engenders ( 8:58).
[more and more] people justify their workload by how many emails they process ( 9:22) – so if we take away the email you they have nothing to do. The implication ( 10:27) is that all the company knowledge, contacts, content and tasks are locked in email
Email gets used as a tool for covertly managing staff ( 10:45) – yes some interactions need to be confidential, but most aren’t.
Knowledge is power ( 11:25) – share as little as possible. Which means ( 12:09) that when someone leaves the company, much of the knowledge they created is lost.
In an increasingly-complex world, email is no longer an effective productivity tool ( 12:48) – nowadays the environment is complex – multi-project, multi-team, multi-geo – this means companies need open collaboration ( 13:36) which email cannot provide. Email has been around so long ( 13:50) that people are scared to try other things. Email doesn’t engender the behaviours we need to be effective in the modern business world ( 15:08).
Some behaviours need to be unlearned, some need to be taken from email to a new environment ( 15:27):
- Email is used to manage people in a bad way ( 15:40), and this is getting carried through into a collaborative environment (“big brother”). Example of team who put completed work on their task list so management don’t think they have been idle.
- Social networks expose the underlying behaviours ( 17:38) (ref @hjarche), and will help identify a dysfunctional corporate culture – some are threatened by this, but ( 18:15) it’s an opportunity to surface issues which the leadership need to tackle
- Bad behaviour stems from leadership ( 20:34) – and the behaviour of leaders on social tools will determine how the rest of the company behave
- Collaborative platforms make people accountable to each other, but allows people to expose their vulnerabilities ( 21:34) – which takes courage from (especially) the senior people ( 22:40)
- The critical importance of leadership behaviours ( 24:25 onwards), the importance of active engaged (and engaging) managers ( 26:10), and heroic leadership that can expose their own flaws ( 26:25)
Deep parallel between closed inbox mindset and static fixed job descriptions. What results is a series of blockages to the flow of work. ( 27:30)
Collaborative environment exposes the blocks, ( 27:56) but this leads to enquiry into the root causes of blockages, making it about the flow of work rather than about the person ( 28:24)