Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, personal impact, Stress management

Effective email management

“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:-

  • 722 emails

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:-

#Action

#Waiting for

#Read review

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.

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Posted in Bite size learning, Management, personal impact, training

Making email work for everyone…

“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…”

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Management, mindfulness, Stress management

Making email work for you…

When information needs to be given quickly, there is no better way than by email.  Unfortunately, with the benefit of speed come some problems that are not always predictable.  Employees need to all be consistent in the way they engage with email and ensure that it is true to the values of the organisation.

Overall you should lead your in-box rather than be led by it.

How to take control?

  • Book an appointment with it
  • Ring fence the time you spend on the email
  • Create 3 subfolders and put a #before the title so that they stay at the top
    • #Action
    • #Waiting for
    • #Read review
  • Take the alert off, so you choose to go in, not “it” inviting you
  • Remember email is not a to-do list
  • email is “real” work integrate it appropriately
  • The signature should be clear and accurate and all communication devices
  • Take action immediately where you can
  • Unsubscribe there and then
  • Be realistic – zero in-box does not work for everyone

“Anyone with an inbox knows what I’m talking about.  A dozen emails to set up a meeting time.  Documents attached and edited and reedited until no-one knows which version is current.  Urgent messages drowning in forwards and cc’s and spam” – Ryan Holmes

For a 90 minute workshop on making email work for you, please contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for more courses tour our website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, Leadership, Management

Objective setting…

“What gets measured gets done…” Tom Peters

Objectives setting should be seen as an important exercise and not just an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

The scene needs to be set that everyone is involved and that they set their own objectives. Everyone needs to “Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey, what do you want to achieve and how will you feel if it happens.

You need to get excited at the direction the objective could take you in. This will occur by taking an inside out approach, already imagining “What will be happening…?”

Also to understand the relevancy of the objective you need to reverse the psychology “What won’t be happening if I don’t set this objective?” This tells you whether it was realistic in the first place.

Stretch objectives takes us just a little further from our comfort zone this means we appreciate and value the effort to achieve. Setting an easy objective leads to complacency and does not move our performance within an organisation.

Objectives provide a story and a history of progression without them it is a book without chapters.

Please visit our website for more workshops www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Relationships

Knowledge Vs Wisdom

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit and wisdom is knowing that it does not go in a fruit salad.

Knowledge is your IQ (intelligence quotient), your data and facts that you have acquired.  Wisdom is your EQ (emotional quotient), the application and , how well you do something and it is appropriate.

Therefore going into leadership we need more wisdom than knowledge and we must not be intimidated by millennials with bags of current knowledge.  Wisdom is maturity of the mind, knowing what works and what does not work.  As parents we can steer our children’s behaviour by dipping into our wisdom far more than knowledge.

  • Knowledge is knowing how to manage your money by budgeting, spending and saving
  • Wisdom is understanding how money impacts the quality of your life and your future

If you were to use knowledge vs wisdom as an equation to everything you do as the example above demonstrates, you can evaluate the knowledge accumulation.  Where will knowledge take you and how will you apply it.  We sometimes do tasks for the sake of doing them, recording expenditure is a good example.  If you never apply any wisdom to the sums recorded you will not have used knowledge and wisdom as a formula.

Knowledge is a tool, and wisdom is the craft in which the tool is used

Leadership is leaning far more towards wisdom, applying and just knowing whether something is right or wrong.  Past life experiences will determine whether an individual is taking the best path.

Knowledge is knowing what to say and Wisdom is knowing when to say it.

For a leadership workshop please do take a tour of website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk  and contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, personal impact

Behaviour Vs Attitude…

We can only comment on what we see, not what we think is driving behaviour. So an example would be:-

Alice always appears very unhelpful when people enter the department, she never welcomes anyone.

We could make an assumption that she has a bad attitude. However we must only give feedback on the observable. Our personality is made up of values, skills, beliefs and attitudes we have collated to be our unique self.

Alice needs feedback on just behaviour that we can see:-

Alice I have seen that every time anyone enters the department you never look up, you never make eye contact with them or say anything”

 We would hope that Alice might explain, she hates being at the front desk, she has always been shy, she did not realise it was a requirement or she said sorry and was keen to do it differently.

Think about the balance between a behaviour and an attitude, what is behind and what is driving it. You often notice more when some-ones behaviour is not in sync with their usual demeanor.

A very handy mnemonic to keep you on the right track (“SBI”):-

S – Situation – what can you see happening?

B – Behaviour – what are they doing, only observable?

I – Impact – what do they think could be the impact of this behaviour?

It is always better if an individual can self assess their behaviour, no-one likes to be told where they are going wrong.

Please do get in touch if you would like your team to have a workshop on feedback.

www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

and contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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Posted in Management, mindfulness, Relationships, training

There is no easy way…

 

Everyone is looking for an easy way to manage their email which now is the biggest drain on everyones time.

In 2007 employees of Google gathered to hear Merlin Mann a rising star in the personal productivity movement.  He explained his system called”Inbox Zero”, it was incredibly straightforward.  People get into bad habits with email and check them constantly and get anxious about what they are saying and then do little or no action.  They pile up as does the stress levels. Mann’s concept was simple, everytime you visit your in-box you should process it to zero.  Decide what action each message requires – a reply, an entry on your to-do list, or just trash it.  Then close your in-box and get on with living.

In-box Zero spawned countless blogs along with videos of people proudly sharing their empty in-boxes.

The irony was the Inbox Zero did not bring calm in fact it brought more anxiety.  Some interpreted Inbox Zero that every email needed a reply which meant more time in their in-box.  Others got obsessive on the whole empty concept so ended up checking more than before.  The super efficiency also ironically meant by processing more emails you received more emails.

Two years after his Google talk Mann signed a contract for a book on InBox Zero.  The book missed its publication date, then after a further two years Mann announced he was cancelling the project.  He realised he was missing morning after morning with his three year old daughter to please a book editor.  Mann said “If you are just using efficiency to jam more and more stuff into your day…well, how would you ever know that that’s working?”

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 for you.  Suggested ideas:-

  • No looking at emails after 6.00pm
  • Book an appointment with your email
  • Ring fence the time you spend on the email
  • Create 3 subfolders and put a # before the title so they stay at the top
    • Action
    • Waiting for
    • Read review
  • No looking at email before 9.00am
  • Take the flag off so that emails don’t interupt you

We need to lead emails and not them lead us, create rituals that fit in with your life and relax that you don’t have to know everything all the time.  Responding too soon might not be the best response.

My husband on Friday night replied to an email which is unusual as the phone normally stays on the hall table until Monday.   The client responded by calling him on Saturday morning.  The intrusion into the weekend was a surprise, however only as a result of his own actions.

The final word should be Mann’s  on Inbox Zero and it is the most profound “Email is not a technical problem.  It’s a people problem.  And you can’t fix people”.

merlin-mann-self-portrait-xl

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