It is astoundingly profound to see how many organizations, lack the ability to simply keep things organized and quality driven! I have seen the bright light of success from other companies and I have seen the groundbreaking impact it presents to the organizations that have these areas under control. But I have yet to see any such initiatives implemented properly, in any of the organizations I have worked for. People are running around stressed, confused and bitter, without realizing that every mail, slide, action or piece of information delivered imperfect and incomplete, aids the misery they are suffocating in. Proper time management and quality assurance are virtues long forgotten, and people are rendered unable to do anything but blaming their surroundings for their unfortunate bearings.
Mail etiquette and responsibilities
All around me mailboxes are on the verge of bursting and all around them I see despairing faces. I have seen successful Support Agents, VPs, clerks, Corporate Directors, Functional Managers, Sales Executives, first level Support Coordinators and many more with well-structured inboxes, containing less than 10 unread items on average, so I simply refuse to believe that it is an impossible feat. You will free resources in all aspects of your work environment by managing your mail repositories properly. You have a responsibility not to be a pretentious individual also; not everyone needs to read all the material that you send – Choose your recipients carefully and target your audience appropriately. We are busy and we do have better things to do than to read emails that doesn’t directly implicate us. My conviction and opinion is that every mail deserves an answer, if it poses a question or brings you relevant information; unfortunately I seem to be one of few lonely wanderers in that universe. It’s about tact and priorities and you have to take the first step, to clean up and get organized – you’re not only helping everyone around you, you’re making your professional life simpler, happier are more efficient. Remember; we live in a digital world -stuff doesn’t get lost, it gets buried! On top of the inability to display proper behavior when working with mails, the majority of people I meet and work with, believe that they comprehend the content of an email, after reading the first 10% Sorry mate; no one earthly being have that ability. Read the mails you receive or let the sender know that he or she missed target.
It’s quite simple; if you agree to participate, you get your backside to the meeting – on time! There’s no shame in excusing yourself from a previous meeting if you have other priorities, and you should! Remember if you agreed to attend you also agreed that it is important that you partake. With that in mind you should evaluate every meeting request you receive and ask yourself this question; “is my presence required?” If not, you’re sending an appropriate and much needed signal by declining. The organizer has a responsibility, same as you, and should allocate the appropriate amount of time, state a clear, transparent and manageable agenda as well as making sure to summon the appropriate audience. And if you are forced to cancel; have the courtesy to do it advance, leaving enough time for the organizer to re-prioritize – you must assume that he or she wanted you there.
Slides, documents, drawings, spreadsheets (should) = Quality
I am baffled and perplexed by the inadequacy I see in conferences, in meetings and as attachments; how people expect me to take them seriously, when the material they advocate themselves with manifest the complete opposite, is a mystery to me. If this is important to the business and important for them to be able to complete the task at hand, meet the next deliverable or keep the project on track, why then present something crude, sketchy and unprofessional? Someone said; “If you need to make a point don’t be subtle – use a pile driver!” and that’s true. If it is important, think it through, put time into it and make sure it stands out! Trust me – the sooner you adhere to this way of thinking, the faster, higher and longer, your will be able to propel your career!
Watching people shovel data and information into SharePoint, group drives, Projectplace, MS Project and other directories blindfolded and carelessly almost kill me. I have never seen a structure in any of these places that people actually adhere by; why it is so hard to fathom the benefit of actually being able to find stuff amaze me. Having a streamlined and sensible structure in any storage setting clearly makes sense; there’s a reason why we store mayonnaise in jars and not in drawers, and why we don’t store juice with the mayonnaise. Be proactive and help your organization; design a structure that fits your organizational needs, get proper buy-in from management and execute. If you spend just 5% of you time searching for material, you’re wasting 5% of your time.
If you’re OK with a blown inbox, utter anarchy in your data- and information-repositories and a “Don’t know, don’t care” attitude ruling your life, then I am sorry to have wasted your time. But in my opinion, optimizing and organizing an area that you spend 33% of your life in working, is an investment worth making. I realized a long time ago that I am much happier, when things are on display, available and to my disposal; if I can find what I need immediately I can do more with my day, and spend more time doing what I enjoy. Imagine if this was a collective mindset in your organization – We would properly still have room for improvement, but we would – for the first time – have a dedicated and efficient collegial attitude, to approach improvement initiatives. Trust me; it adds value!