Monday, January 20, 2014

Email Isn't the Problem

"Email is a tyrant. Combined with Personal Kanban, it can be a great way to receive work." - Jim Benson

I find there are plenty of times when email is a great tool (for example: providing background material in advance of discussions). Yes, often email is misused and there are plenty of bad processes around email. But it isn't very sensible to say we shouldn't use a hammer (email) because when we use it to cut paper it isn't very useful. We shouldn't misuse a tool; that doesn't mean we shouldn't use the tool properly.

Yes, fix the problems with how emails is used and how you integrate email into your daily work etc. But I think way too often people think email (the "tool") is the problem when I rarely see it that way.

Killing Email Interruptions: Personal Kanban using LeanKit, Gmail, and Zapier provides details on a way to manage the process of dealing with email.

Related: Process Thinking, Process Email Addresses - Effective Communication is Explicit

Monday, January 13, 2014

What Works for One Business May Not Work For Others

How “flat” should an organization really be? Zappos eliminates managers
My concern isn’t Zappos. It’s all the organizations that read about Zappos and decide to copy them without understanding why they are copying them, or what needs to be in place to enable this.
This sentiment needs to be adopted by managers for everything they learn about management. There are good management ideas. But there are very few management ideas that you can just take and adopt easily in your organization.

The success of management practices is highly dependent on the rest of the management system of the organization.

I find we are nowhere near accepting enough of the complexity involved in management. We want simple solutions. This unwillingness to deal with the full system is responsible for a great deal of failed management effort.

What Zappos may be able to do successfully may well make little sense for most other organizations. I don't see eliminating all management positions as a wise management practice in general. But I am willing to believe it might be that such a move can work in some organizations.

Related: Pilot on a Small Scale First, Good Advice We Often Ignore - Paying New Employees to Quit at Zappos - Toyota Execution Not Close to Being Copied - Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory