The media is awash since the Harvey Weinstein of abuse cases and how do you determine the line that people cross.
My own experiences has measured my thoughts around appropriate and inappropriate.
In my early 20’s I went for an interview to work with a very well successful businessman. With hindsight this first introduction to him should have been a warning of what was to come, the level of control. I was asked to wipe off my lipstick (my trademark bright pink). This felt very odd, and I had lots of time to reflect on this instruction as I was left in a room for a very long period to wait for the “big man”. Looking back I think I was being watched and the whole situation was a test.
I got the job without the lipstick which I was still advised to hold back on.
The prestige of working for the company and the man himself let me initially enjoy the situation. It became apparent that it was not business as normal. Five secretaries to one PA, could easily tell you that we were just ever slightly over manned.
We would be rewarded with money for carrying a brief case, however in the process the wandering hands went too far. Sex toys would be placed on our desks to see our reaction, and I was particularly naive.
I left after 6 months and the first thing I did was make sure my lipstick was brighter than ever. The resilient pink continues and I know where the line is for me.
I ask myself would I want my daughter to be humiliated and lose confidence due to an individual who believed fame and money would protect him.
Arriving at meeting last week there was lots of banter about whether we could greet each other with hug. I laughed with the group, however I was delighted that there is now thinking around personal space. My own example is somewhat extreme, however there are levels within everything and there is always a line to cross or not to cross.
We can create a better place and be resilient with or without pink lipstick.
“We must lead emails rather than them leading us…” Bev Wilkinson
Being effective with email management is how you behave around emails rather than the simple processing. We need to set ground rules and set up rituals and habits that fit with our lives. We can control it rather than it control us.
Dan Pink’s book – “To Sell is Human”, listed the number of emails he received in two weeks:-
To improve organisational effectiveness is not too focus on the number or volume. The attention should be on clear guidelines as to how you manage your in-box.
There is no easy way and the whole idea of personal productivity means that it is personal to you. Systems need to be tweaked and adapted to work. Sharing ideas with team members can give you new ways of interacting with the screen.
If you look at an email 5 minutes before you go into a meeting you take that email into the meeting. Checking your email before you go to bed means that you will take that email to bed with you.
We can be effective by making choices that work for our lives, book an appointment with your emails as you would any other contact.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen suggests setting up sub folders that sit at the top of your other folders. This can easily be achieved by putting a # in front of the title:-
To be effective think about the rhythm of your day and decide when you want to manage your email. Relax that you don’t have to know everything all the time.
Being effective is the right processes for you.
More and more companies are moving towards a casual dress code. We often wear the right clothes to do the right job. You would never garden in your high heels, the trusted wellington boot is the footwear of choice.
If we are not wearing the right dress does it mean that our tone becomes more relaxed.
- Do we mind if the team use emojis in their emails?
- Use Hi instead of Dear
- Sign off with thanks or cheers
- Go straight into the email
- Put the content of the email in the subject box
- Use comic sans as a font
When dress codes change they often get misinterpreted, what is casual in my eyes might not be in some-one else’s eyes. There is an adjustment phase, some team members intentionally push the boundaries. Our clothes are very much a part of the image and the culture we belong in. They are easy to spot and give feedback on.
The tonality and content of your team emails are harder to spot.
Introduce guidelines of the tonality you expect and the look and appearance of your emails. They are often and the first contact with your company, ensure that it is the right image.
“People don’t read emails” or is it “People don’t read emails properly“.
How do you get your message across and how do you get noticed. We want to get attention for the right reasons.
I was recently asked to design and deliver a workshop on how to make email work for you. The client has had messages go out with “Hi” in the subject box.
Their brand and culture was very traditional and they felt their team did not reflect it in the way emails were worded and displayed. They wanted messages to match their culture and look and sound like the brand in essence the right voice. Overall their mantra was to sound “charming”.
The workshop was highly interactive with flip charts asking the questions what does good, bad and ugly look like from an email perspective. From the delegates answers you could ascertain how the company could change their email practices to have consistency and portray the right image.
The right voice is not just about the look of an email the tonality is key. We asked delegates to right email responses to common Client queries and looked at the language that was appropriate and inappropriate. The level of directness that is an assertive voice and the tipping point to aggression.
Practically we need to lead email rather than it lead us. The last part of the workshop explored how to manage it effectively.
When email entered the business world very few of us ever had training as to how to use it and very few companies provide guidelines. The standard signature template is as far as it goes. Think further are you happy for employees to use “Hi” or “Thanks” would you rather it was a “Kind regards”.
We have made a difference by working with organisations to get them to think about how much damage one email can do. With this one workshop “Making email work for you” we have given companies their brand back through email.
Please do get in touch to book a workshop on “Making email work for everyone…”
Sleep is the new drug in town. We reach for the pain killers and eventually we might take to our bed. However what if we saw sleep as a preventative drug.
Matthew Walker is the director at the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, he has spent the last 20 years studying “sleep”.
“When have you ever seen an NHS poster urging sleep?’ – “when did a Doctor prescribe sleep not sleeping pills, sleep loss costs the UK economy more than £30bn a year in the lost revenue”
Sleep resets our body and brain by working on the following:-
- emotional stability
- immune system
When we sleep it is like hitting the save button on your memories. Studies have also shown that we can learn new facts much better after a good 8 hours. The Hippocampus in the brain is the memory in-box. MRI scans of sleep deprived individuals show the lack of activity or using the metaphor of the in-box no new files.
Sleep manages emotional volatility, scans of the brain show the Amygdala has increased activity with sleep deprived individuals. So for our emotional well being 8 hours sleep a night is the best recovery.
Our physicality is improved with sleep as we have natural killer cells, our immune cells who work during the night. The World Health Organisation has now identified that shift workers are at risk due to poor sleeping routines.
Sleep resets your body and brain so go out there and reclaim it and make sure it is the full 8 hours.
We create our own happiness by choosing the state that we go into, however how much are we aided by the chemicals in our brain. Science colliding with our emotional intelligence.
At a talk at our son’s school they explained how teenagers can steer their behaviour with bearing in mind the dosage they need to be happy. It is healthy for teenagers to hug and want companionship and yet social media does not give them that intimacy or immediate closeness. The wrong elements of the happiness can be exaggerated, the teenagers can become addicted to posting and the reaction of their friends.
Simon Sinek of TED talk fame and for the book “Start with Why”, explained when writing his book “Leaders Eat Last” the chemicals that makes us happy.
He used the mnemonic EDSO however at my son’s school last week they made it far more catchy – DOSE of happiness.
DOPAMINE – motivates us to achieve incremental goals. It is the greed element of the brain it makes us feel good when we tick things off the to-do list and it can become highly addictive.
OXYTOCIN – creates intimacy, trust and the feeling that some-one will protect you. Mothers and babies and lovers feel this when they are protected and loved, the feeling of safety.
SEROTONIN – provides the feeling of significance, pride, status. It drives us to seek the recognition of others. I want to do it so that my family are proud of me. It reinforces relationships within a group, it can give cohesion to a team.
ENDORPHINS – keeps us going during work outs or runs, it helps us endure difficulties. We have the same rush when we laugh.
If we were put them into a table:-
|Chemicals for Happiness
||Setting and achieving milestones
||Intimacy and safety
||One-on-ones with Manager
||Making the team proud
||Late night working
The right DOSE can steer you through an organisation and life. Check-in to see whether you are being exposed to the right amount in each area.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on Happiness firstname.lastname@example.org
The snow globe is a very visual representation as to how we live our lives. We focus on the small things and yet some-one is forever shaking it up. The building or structure in the centre of the globe we forget about.
We enjoy achieving the small stuff as we get that buzz of achievement, we have ticked a list or highlighted an accomplishment. We release dopamine in the brain the feel good chemical, instant gratification.
We have attended 3 meetings this week however they may have no complexity. Thinking is not linear and involves engaging the brain fully. The temptation to achieve immediate is everywhere. The email pop up could easily take you away from the hard report that needs to be written and involves thinking. We get addicted at accumulating small tasks, it is called structured procrastination.
This short term horizon is due to the fact that we are now a society based on impulse. We crave automatic self stimulation, we send a message and we crave the reply. We create an addictive cycle.
We are encouraged to do more and now with technology we have no limits. There are now work addiction groups. People enjoy the control that task accomplishment gives them, where as living life does not have the same completion and control.
An example would be a Senior Executive has to forecast next year’s figures, it will be a black and white document with figures based on the evidence of the previous year. The same Executive has to manage the behaviour of their 18 month old who has not yet mastered sleeping through the night. You can guess which one has the linear thinking and the control and the latter requires a more creative approach.
The culture we have created is “Try harder” and it is a “Short time Horizon” we need to look to a broader, slower and altogether bigger horizon. Try this week to do more thinking.
Please do get in touch to explore thinking more email@example.com