There is such a thing as too much communication. If you have a work email, you know exactly what I am saying. There are days where the question just begs to be asked: If all of these people are this busy communicating, who is actually doing the work that needs to get done?
One of the biggest traps in business is also one of the most benign-looking. Communication. You only need so much of it. As the owner of a media company and a dental practice, the last thing I have time for is to be .cc’d on every email. It’s hard to yank wisdom teeth with both hands on a keyboard. The same goes for your employees and the work they need to get done.
I guarantee you that nowhere in their job descriptions does it list, “spend half the day responding to emails.” Yet that is the sad reality of many businesses out there.
It doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be.
Communication overload is a fairly new problem in the scope of issues a business can face. It’s not messy like customer complaints, or stressful like financial loss, yet it can be just as disruptive when the whole team is more focused on not missing an email than they are on completing the tasks that keep the business spinning.
The following excerpt is from my new book, “Uncomplicate Business: All It Takes Is People, Time, and Money.” The book comes out in October 2015 and is available for preorder at HowardFarran.com.
Excerpt: The digital revolution has certainly changed the way we communicate. Back before email and cell phones, a cement truck might leave the factory only to arrive at its destination to be told the cement was no longer needed. There was no way to get in touch with the driver to tell her, “Don’t go to that site; go to this one instead.” Now someone just calls the truck driver on her cell phone and she takes the concrete where it’s needed.
But I believe the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Now instead of no communication, there is too much. Businesses are over-communicating with way too many emails, texts, and meetings. Instead of increasing efficiency, they are wasting valuable time.
Communicate to save, not waste, time. After a quarter of a century in business, I’ve learned some measures you can take to maximize the efficiency of the communication systems in your business. …
Begin each business day with a morning huddle.
Businesses that start with a morning huddle to discuss their goals for the day are more than twice as likely to be successful. It’s all about planning. Can you imagine a football team not having a strategy meeting before the big game?
As they arrive at work, your employees’ thoughts are still on their early morning routines of getting dressed, making breakfast, making sure the kids get off to school on time with their homework and lunch boxes.
The morning huddle is an efficient means for staff to transition from personal mode to business or “game” mode.
In our dental practice, we do what any football team does before the big game. We review our strategy and set our priorities. We define the focus for each member of the team for that day. We try to anticipate potential problems—such as an unscheduled emergency—and create solutions. Where can we work that patient into the existing schedule? Which operatory can we make available?
Similarly, if we are low on supplies, we discuss what and how to conserve until our shipment arrives.
The morning huddle is imperative for effective time management by solving problems before they happen. Clear, focused communication at the outset prevents chaos and stress throughout the day. …
Here are some quick and easy ways to cut down on communications clutter:
- Keep your email messages clear, concise, and focused only on the crucial points, so you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.
- Design your communication around your organizational chart. If you have five teams and each team has a department head, only message the person in charge. Do not waste your staff’s time by copying the message to every member of the team. Let them work and be productive.
- Don’t accept unnecessary messages in your email files. Instruct your staff to copy you only on matters that require your decision, and allow them to unsubscribe to any emails that only waste their time.
- Take advantage of available technology such as walkie-talkies or an interoffice messaging system.
- Set up an automatic response that lets people know that you’re managing your email the way you want and that if it’s important, you’ll get back to them ASAP.