Did you really need that extra mail?

How many mails come into your inbox on a daily basis?

Now take that number and determine how many of those mails were actually addressed to you vs those you were cc:ed on.

Now of the mails that you were cc:ed on, how many of those were actually useful or that you took action on?  (An action cannot be the action of  deleting the email).

Probably close to zero right?

Before email, two people could have a conversation and know they were important to the outcome of that conversation.  With email – you never know!  You could cc the world on an email thread, but your expectations (i.e., read and act) could be totally different from what someone else’s expectations are (i.e., skim and dismiss).  Everyone is always complaining about too much email to sift through, but what if you only had to deal with the mail that was addressed to you and was relevant.

The whole argument – “I wanted to make sure you were aware” – doesn’t hold water anymore.  If it is that critical that you want someone to be aware, then you should really look at picking up the phone and talking to them – “hey there’s a problem and you need to be aware of it”.

I’m guilty of cc:ing too many people on emails (I try, sometimes I do well, sometimes I fail), it’s too easy, it doesn’t cost anything.  What if for every person you cc:ed it cost you a quarter, you’d change your emailing habits wouldn’t you?  In a flash I bet.  And you probably wouldn’t see that much of a difference because the people that you really needed to see the email and take action, would probably have the same result – of actually taking action.

The other, inadvertent reaction to cc:ing lots of people on your emails, is avoidance of action.  You see a long list of people on an email thread, and they all start to think that someone else will take the necessary action – “Oh Dan’s on this, he’s got it, I’ll delete and go back to life”.

If we all sent more directed email, and less cc:drivel, we’d probably get a lot more action from our email as opposed to wondering why no one read your email or even worse, why no one took action on it.

Don’t Forget the Good Kids

I had this experience a few weeks ago where I just had a dredge of a week to work through – Meetings, Status Updates, Presentations, Designs, etc, etc – you name it I did it.  Lots of concurrent projects going on across everything in my life and it literally felt like I was bailing out a boat while water was coming in at an insurmountable rate to what I was bailing.

Sound Familiar?  

Everyone has these weeks, I’m saying nothing new in this regard.  However, while I was dealing with this maelstrom of tasks and people, this one person I work with was staying on top of everything and in fact doing a much better job when compared to some of the people that really had to work, so I pushed off meeting with her until the end of the week.  And not just the end of the week, but the very end of the week, Friday at 4pm where my energy was in the negative zone.  I had, had no time to prepare to meet with her and halfway through realized I wasn’t going to be able to give her the help she needed.

When I left that meeting, I felt utterly horrible, here is this great resource on our team that’s driving towards the finish line, making a great impact and needs my help for the last 10 yards whilst I am trying to help people you are the 50 yard line.  So while I focused on the people at the 50 yard line, I gave her no support to go further.  When I met with her the following week (very early in the week), I came prepared to walk through everything with her and give her that last 10 yards she needed and from there she need another 20 yards (you can’t beat that kind of Return on Investment).

We sometimes lean towards focusing on the trouble people (and/or kids), giving them more energy to get them up to speed with everyone else.  And this is good and should not be ignored.  But if we don’t focus on the high-performing, those that are ahead of the curve and pushing themselves not for monetary gain but for their own desire to do well in their field of interest, and yes for lack of a better word “the good kids”, then we are also not helping them reach their full potential, leaving them stranded where they are, waiting for everyone to catch up and then worse, losing interest in what they are doing.

I’m not saying focus all your energies on them – I am saying don’t forget to give equal parts to them as well – they need your guidance in a different way.  The Good Kids don’t always ask for help, because they see what you are doing and hold off a bit, that’s where you need to observe them and jump in with – “Hey, how’s it going…” and make the time for them.

It’s not going to be easy…

Let’s get started…

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Simple enough, less than 20 words, another pretty little quote showing up in your Newsfeed to give you that spark of energy for 30 minutes.  What could you accomplish in those 30 minutes?  What if you kept reading it over and over and over again, would you read it 48 times in a single day so you could have that spark the whole day long?  Would you be willing to stay up that long?

I’ve written the second part of this blog about 4 times now, all different paths the blog could go down – compensation, effort, diving into problems, startups – etc.  But in the end it’s so much simpler than that – take a company, job, initiative, idea, spark – and imagine where you could take it if only you had your choice of the best team in the world, the best offices and equipment, the human network and connections needed to make it a success.  Think of all the challenges and pitfalls that could exist, write them all down, every single one of them, what could go wrong, what could break, the legalities, everything.   Now take what it could be, what it really, really could be and start taking away those perks – the rock star team, the high-end coffee machines, the 3 weeks of conference training and break it down to just you while increasing the challenges.

Keep doing this until all that is left is you and your goal.

Now, looking at that very long road, where it is just you, your wits and your skills, look up that road to where you could take it – would you travel that road?  Would it be worth it to you to travel that long road to get to the end.

If the answer is yes, then why are you waiting on the perfect conditions, you’ve already imagined the worst case scenario so nothing worst *could* conceivably happen and you know it would be worth it if you got there.  So why are you listening to all the doubters, the naysayers and the voices in your head – go get it.