In the spirit of paying attention to what I am paying attention to, I can’t help noticing that emails are still feeling oppressive.

Dave Pollard has the answer:

To all employees:

Beginning August 1st, you will no longer be able to send an e-mail to another employee of our organization. After some study, we have concluded that such e-mails are almost never the most efficient or effective way to obtain, provide or exchange information. In fact, we estimate that as much as 20% of our employees’ time is wasted reading, writing and answering e-mails, beyond the time that it would take to communicate the same information using more appropriate means.

Instead of email, the hapless troops are enjoined to use:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Desktop Video & Screen-Sharing
  • E-Library
  • Instant Survey
  • E-Learning

Each in its proper place, each being used for what it can do best.  But all of those come after the still simpler and more powerful idea that it is a central part of every employee’s obligations to make themselves available for helpful conversations with everybody else.

Read the whole thing, then reflect on the creative energy to be unleashed by implementing it.  The self assessment is then less about the extent to which email is used inappropriately, much more about what other possibilities the organisation affords, both technically and culturally.  As with any other change, there being another way which is clearly better is a prerequisite, but having the tools won’t create the change.  At least that’s what I would assume.  For the moment, I would settle for having some of the tools, so that sending an email doesn’t always have to be the answer, regardless of the question.