Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Gaffes in communication are common in all media, and email is no exception. It does, however, enable special opportunities to be very sorry for what you said… The problem with Forward The main reason is that an email, once sent, is no longer yours . You must assume – and to your detriment often forget to assume – that it will get forwarded and re-forwarded. Everything you said to your intended recipient will likely as not be placed before numerous other people. It is astounding how thoughtlessly a recipient can set loose a message meant for their eyes only! The.. Read more

New Insight Article: Effective Hiring – What I’ve Learned from Experience

Posted on May 6, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Hiring is one of the most critical things you do as a manager, and yet corporate training curricula seldom have a course on how to hire people. This is a pity, because not only are there best practices to be learned from the world at large, there are also specific traditions and processes that have become part of the corporate culture in each individual company. In three decades in various organizations I’ve seen and done enough as a manager to form my own opinions on hiring. Opinionated they may be, but I nevertheless share them in my latest insight article.. Read more

The Importance of Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth is

Posted on March 18, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A key component of leadership A major challenge all managers face is how to motivate their employees to do the best job they can. This is problematic because – despite the usual corporate values of “we respect our employees” and “open door policy” – there is always an element of mistrust between management and employees (I discuss it in the context of Information Overload in this article); and mistrust is a major demotivator. So, managers need to assure employees that they are sincere in what they tell them – and, until someone invents a mind reading device, this is tough. Of.. Read more

Mixed Blessings of Technology: Insights From a Family Physician

Posted on February 17, 2015 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

Given my focus on mitigating Information Overload, I often discuss it with people I meet in other contexts; many interesting insights usually result. Especially interesting are discussions with those people who are responsible for executing literally life-saving jobs under extreme pressure: medical practitioners. I was visiting a family doctor and raised the subject. This doctor had a computer on her desk, where she was required by the HMO she works for to type in details of everything she did, from patients’ complaints to diagnoses to prescriptions. What’s more, this was a progressive HMO and it allowed patients to communicate with.. Read more

Unplugged Weddings: People are Pushing Back!

Posted on January 27, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

At last: some pushback The “democratization” of photography in the smartphone age has wrested the role of the professional wedding photographer and distributed it among all the invited friends and family members; and this change happened almost overnight, in line with the exponential speedup of technology introduction in recent years. The relevance of this to information overload was the subject of my recent post, Wedding Photos and Managing Information Overload. Another interesting development, which came surprisingly close on the heels of the former, is the appearance of the Unplugged Wedding concept. This is a clear instance where people are beginning.. Read more

When Cultures Clash: Mission Orientation vs. Overwork

Posted on December 28, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

As I wrote before, the causes of Information Overload are always tightly intertwined with organizational culture, which leads to interesting conflicts and forces critical tradeoffs. Well-meaning legislative efforts I was at a conference dedicated to the interdisciplinary examination of the rampant problem of destructive Overwork. Some of the speakers were academics who presented their research findings about the severe impact of overwork – say, working 60 or more hours a week – on employees’ health and well-being. Others were jurists, legislators and reformers who discussed present and proposed efforts to modify the laws of the land to reduce overwork by.. Read more

Call to Action: We Need a Benchmark of Email Classifier Performance!

Posted on December 10, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A vibrant menagerie of email classifiers If you look through  my Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see an entire chapter dedicated to automation of incoming email classification – that is, software solutions that classify incoming messages by a variety of attributes to achieve two main goals: prioritize messages that are important to the recipient over those who are not, and aggregate messages into groups of a common nature. These solutions form a collection which is a wonder to behold. They define the outcome of message classification from a great many angles, including: Prioritizing messages by the assessed.. Read more

Five Things That Turn a Job into a DREAM Job

Posted on November 6, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Everybody would love to work in a Dream Job. Not everybody is so lucky; and not everybody realizes what the makings of such a job are. What makes a salaried position into a dream job? I’ve spent some 3 decades in a variety of positions before striking out on my own, and now as a consultant I get to see many workplaces and to talk to many workers. I’ve seen good jobs and bad, wonderful and horrible ones. Here is what I found. Perhaps you can find more (do share, if you do!). This is a subject you want to.. Read more

When Cultures Clash: Open Door Policy vs. Information Overload

Posted on October 29, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

The causes of Information Overload are always tightly intertwined with organizational culture, so it is small wonder that solving the first requires messing with the second… and there are times when my work to help organizations mitigate information overload runs into apparent conflicts with existing cultural values. When that happens, we must tread carefully! One such case is the contradiction with the Open Door policy that is quite common in progressive organizations in the western world. The conflict The basic idea of Open Door is that managers are available to their subordinates whenever the latter feel they have something to.. Read more

Should IT Customize Outlook to Reduce Information Overload?

Posted on October 24, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I was giving a workshop on Information Overload at a midsized hi-tech company where it was agreed to use a standard format for meeting invitations: in addition to the subject, time and place required by Outlook, each such invitation would contain an agenda with a timetable, a list of desired outcomes, and “homework” to be prepared ahead of the meeting. That’s an excellent idea, which I urge you to consider applying in your own group. But then one attendee asked: can we build this into the Outlook platform, so these added fields would be required and enforced automatically? And that.. Read more