How ignorance can lead to Information Overload

Posted on September 13, 2011 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

I was discussing Email Overload with a friend of mine who is a veteran manager at an international hi-tech company, and he made an interesting observation. His company, he said, is large enough that many email senders have no idea who should be copied on their messages; they can’t be sure who “needs to know”, so they just CC everyone who is remotely likely to be involved. Basically, they are replacing “Need to Know” with “Might possibly need to know”.

Of course, although these folks think “better safe than sorry”, they should be very sorry – the recipients that don’t need the information are wasting time, effort and peace of mind on the useless mail they receive. They are, in effect, paying with overload for the senders’ ignorance of their actual work needs.

So what can one do? You can’t make the company smaller; but you might ensure people have access to a better mapping of coworkers’ needs and interests. With today’s Social Media platforms, this mapping is much more accessible than before. Another reason to adopt social media in the enterprise!