Posted by: kerrywills | April 17, 2010

Nobody calls any more

On any given day I have several hundred e-mails. I wake up and have several dozen more from over night. My Blackberry is constantly blinking with new messages. I also usually have several Instant Messenger messages going at one time on my PC. The cell phone is beeping with text messages. Yet I could probably go a full week without getting one phone call at my desk.

The pace of work and amount of work have pushed us to a point where no one has time to pick up the phone any more. We are constantly running from one meeting to another, putting out fires and responding to the never-ending stream of messages that come our way.

I would propose that this new culture has taken the interpersonal aspects away from work. E-mails come across as harsh, not personal and sometimes aggressive if misinterpreted (or maybe that was the purpose). This makes it hard to foster teamwork and collaboration, especially for Project Managers trying to accomplish project goals. Project Managers need to use their judgment and determine the best time for interpersonal contact vs an e-mail or follow up. My suggestions for some scenarios are below:

  • Reminder for an action item (e-mail)
  • Follow up an an action item which has been outstanding for some time (call)
  • One question (e-mail or instant message)
  • Several questions (group e-mail but probably a call/meeting)
  • Crisis or escalation (call/meeting)

The shoe phone is only used for critical calls

So the next time something comes across your desk, I would ask you to consider picking up the phone and calling the people. Now if only I remembered how to dial the phone….is it 9…9 + 1…..


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