Archive for the 'Organizational Solutions' Category

Banning Email Use After Hours: an Update

Posted on June 29th, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Five and a half years ago I blogged about how Volkswagen decided to turn off its Blackberry servers outside of work hours, thereby affording employees some quality time with their families and their lives. It was a pioneering move and a courageous one, and I added my hope that other companies would take note. It took a while, but now companies and legislators are not merely taking note – they’re taking action. In fact some of them are not only enabling, but also enforcing a barrier between Work and Life that email may not penetrate. There is much more to.. Read more

Video: My Lecture on Trends in Innovative Information Overload Solutions

Posted on June 21st, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

I was invited to give a Webinar for an IBM group interested in Information Overload and how to solve it. I shared with the group my take on the evolution of solutions to this problem from the mid-90s to the present – and the likely future. Here is the video, shared with permission.

BLUF! A Great Method to Get Your Message Across

Posted on March 30th, 2017 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

BLUF: Put the main takeaway – the bottom line – of your message at its very beginning.   BLUF? What on Earth is that? BLUF stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. It is a term coined, apparently, in the US Army, and it denotes a model for effective message writing. The idea is to reverse the usual method, where you first present your case, your arguments and justifications, and then – at the end – draw the conclusions or decisions. Instead you put the conclusion, the main thing you need the reader to understand, at the very beginning of the.. Read more

Should We Reintroduce Computer-free Activity into the Workplace?

Here is a strange idea: reduce the use of computers in the workplace. Huhh?!?… Bear with me and read on… Computers and Stress Back in the nineties management at my Intel campus realized that non-stop computer use was causing health damage in the form of RSI (repetitive stress injuries – remember all those weird wrist bandages?). To address it, we implemented structured “stretching sessions” where everyone stopped typing and came together to do directed exercises with music and fun. Today we see that non-stop computer use is causing health damage in other forms – and it may be time to.. Read more

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Posted on May 21st, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

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

Unplugged Weddings: People are Pushing Back!

Posted on January 27th, 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

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

Posted on December 10th, 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

When Cultures Clash: Open Door Policy vs. Information Overload

Posted on October 29th, 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 24th, 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

Is Information Overload a Symptom of Incorrect Staffing?

Posted on August 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Of the 164 solutions to information overload included in my Definitive Guide, the last one is probably the least likely to be implemented – and that’s truly a shame. The problem we seldom mention I was discussing Information Overload a while ago with a thoughtful executive at a Fortune 500. The guy agreed with me that things were out of control, but he wasn’t impressed with the fact that he was receiving some 250 work-related email messages a day, most of which were pretty much useless. He said to me, “The problem is not the 200-odd useless emails; those I.. Read more