I heard the following anecdote the other day:
‘When I arrived I was told I should put every in writing as an email. This didn’t make sense to me and was contrary to how I normally worked, so I kept relying on conversations to get things done–at least until I was burnt the first time. Now I put everything in an email.’
This illustrates the power of email in embedding culture. In this case, it creates a culture of blame and mistrust. Contrast this approach with that of the New York diamond traders who conduct a majority of their business without contracts–business is done on a hand-shake. Think of the improvements in efficiencies and responsiveness!
I remember Dave Snowden describing email as an ‘addiction’, and suggesting that organisations should develop a ‘detox’ program–perhaps even disable the email platform for a while as ‘cold turkey’ therapy!
Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with email, and you will no doubt have your own. But here are a couple of approaches (perhaps you could call them ‘policies’) that people have adopted in an attempt to affect the culture of their companies positively.
Do you have other examples of how email can be used to foster trust?
Love to hear them.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:
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