This is the second in a series of posts on how I lead my team in avoiding email.
2. Keep a working document of things to talk about
With each of my direct reports we share a Google Document called “Things to talk about Russ/Tony” (if Tony was the name of a direct report.) The document has two sections.
A. From Russ
- a list of things that I wish to discuss with the person I am responsible for overseeing
B. From Tony
- a list of things my colleague wishes to discuss with me (his supervisor)
Each time we meet we work through a sub-section of the things on each person’s list.
Why I like this?
- It reduces email because my reports have a clear way of bringing things to my attention without them getting buried in an inbox
- It forces people to clarify which items are priority for my input
- It means all the things I need to talk about with someone are centralized onto one list.
- It means I don’t spend a lot of time sending emails that say “I need to talk to you about…”
- If there isn’t a lot on the list, we simply don’t meet
- It allows more frequent contact with reports that I need it with (very dynamic lists), and less with those who don’t
- It implicitly creates an ongoing meeting agendas
- If I am on the road, I can just call a report, they pull up the document of things to talk about and away we go