Archive for April, 2010

Correspondence of yesteryear

Posted on April 27th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

I once told a friend of mine, a veteran engineer at Intel, that I found that people at Intel devote 20 hours a week to “Doing email”. His thoughtful response was “actually we always had this. We called it Correspondence”. Then he added, “and we devoted 2 hours a week to it”. Good point… I too remember those days at the start of my career. The correspondence consisted of messages – just like email – and it would come from inside and outside the workplace – just like email – and it would come on sheets of mashed tree pulp.. Read more

Eliminating PowerPoint altogether: a brave experiment

Posted on April 20th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I’ve discussed the shortcomings of thoughtless reliance on PowerPoint before. I was recently made aware of an audacious experiment tried out at Ashridge business school in the UK. As reported by Phil Anderson here, the purpose was “to see what the effect would be on us as learning and development professionals and more importantly how participants would find the experience, if PowerPoint was done away with all together and not a single slide was used”. The effect, it turns out, was largely beneficial, and in ways beyond my immediate expectation. Not having PowerPoint forced the teachers to think more carefully.. Read more

The shifting perception of the acceptable

Posted on April 14th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

I was discussing the effect of email overload on work/life balance with a manager, when he pointed out that emailing late at night was acceptable in his eyes because if he receives an email from a subordinate at 10 PM the sender may well be watching a game on TV and “doing email”. I found this interesting because of the underlying assumption that if the poor chap was sending the email while watching the game then it was not a problem for his work/life balance, since he was, after all, watching the game – in other words, he had no.. Read more

WiFi in the classroom: enabler or distraction?

Posted on April 9th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

My friend Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli of Haifa U writes a fascinating column in Calcalist where he examines our new digital world (if you’re one of my readers to whom Hebrew isn’t Greek, take a look!)   His last post examines the dilemma of WiFi use in university classrooms: some universities are turning the net off, to ensure students will listen to the lectures instead of mucking around in Facebook; others prefer to keep access available, claiming freedom of speech and the fact that with cellular web access the battle is lost in any case. Sheizaf personally advocates the second position, which.. Read more

Altruism and Email Overload solutions

Posted on April 4th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

While checking online for tidbits on Email Overload, I bumped into an article in The Advocate titled Managing E-mail Overload: Reducing Volume by Being Mindful of Others, written by Stephen M. Nipper. It shares a variety of useful tips, but its main emphasis, as the name implies, is on considering the impact of the mail one sends on others, and practicing restraint by avoiding Reply to All, writing concise messages, etc. Which makes perfect sense: if we send less mail, and it is easier to read, surely that will reduce email overload to everyone’s benefit. But it isn’t so simple… Read more

He doesn’t DO PowerPoint!

Posted on April 1st, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

We should all learn from a senior corporate executive I know. This guy once participated in a meeting where half the attendees were in another geographic location, and were hearing our location via teleconference. At some point one of the people in the remote location asked “Are you showing any PowerPoint slides? Because we aren’t seeing them on our screen here”. And the exec said, emphatically: “I don’t DO PowerPoint!” I was overjoyed when I heard that. He didn’t do PowerPoint; instead, he talked to his audiences, explaining, instructing, directing, managing, leading, role modeling… all the things a manager ought.. Read more