Don't Be A Postman

I remember early this decade sitting in a technology co’s Chief Exec’s office as his computer made the bleep that signifies a new email arrival every couple of minutes.  He got so irritated by it that he moved over to mute the sound with dark mutterings about how stupid people were that they had to ‘cc’ him on every petty little action and he must do something about it. 

My mate in Cape Town and I were enjoying a couple of cheeky cocktails during an early evening happy hour somewhere, when he started to moan about how little work he’d got done that day.  Why should you spend half your day responding to and shuffling around emails?  How much productivity is lost to sending things on with actions and looking at CCs supposedly included to ensure things get done?

Dealing with this is a tough call for the sales department.  Notoriously bad record keepers, the CC is seen as a simple audit trail for the rep, providing the ability to cover one’s behind.  Yet this often seems pretty pointless.

My pal and I got to wondering, that maybe cc-ing emphasis should change.  The vast majority of such tagging accompanies a request for action (either in the vague hope it’ll create a prompt response or sufficiently avoid any subsequent blame).  But what if you created an internal rule that unrelated cc-ing could only take place once a task had been complete?  In other words, shifting the emphasis from ‘do’ to ‘done’?

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