Managing Email

Email is not a replacement for a conversation.

Any attempt to use email as a “shorter” conversation will end up creating more email.

Yes, even a phone call can cure endless emails back and forth.

We’ve all seen many types of email from what looks like a snail mail letter to incoherent and misspelled phrases.

There are many programs that claim to manage email but the real secret is how it is used.

  1. Do not ask any questions that you are not prepared to have to answer. 
  2. Ask what would happen if you called that person or didn’t send the email.  
  3. If you must email, start off with the main point and stick to it.
  4. Email (like texting and social media) is addictive even when we say we see it as a burden.  Putting it off or having email assigned automatically to predetermined files may not help.   
  5. See email as a tool, the way texting is a tool. 

I am an Apple Watch user and handling email on it is better in my opinion than on a phone or laptop.  The watch lets you dictate a response and even for a long-winded radio/TV guy like me, it’s amazing how quickly you can get to the point and move on to the present.

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Dignity & Respect

Just saying the words dignity and respect makes you straighten up and feel proud.

It gives us positive reaction just hearing the sounds of words that are power packed.

U.S. Air Force General Jay Silveria, the superintendent of The Air Force Academy told his young cadets:

“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect – then you need to get out”. 

It’s arguable as to whether the person being treated with dignity and respect or the one doing it benefits most.

Aim high.

Think big.

Be proud.

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The First Step to Real Change

Everyone wants to change – get better, be happier, make more money – but it’s just talk.

Change grows out of gratitude for what we already have.

To turn words into action, try this.

When you awake in the morning, spend five minutes before you get out of bed or as you are showering to name 5 people you are grateful for and 5 things you are grateful for.

You may repeat the same people and things often or daily, but you must say why.

Your spouse because they are supportive of you.

Your parent(s) for instilling special qualities in you.

The person who gave you your first break because without them … 

The doctor that saved your life or made it better.

Your children for keeping you young and exuberant.

After you’ve recalled 5 of each, return to the real world.

But wait!

Don’t be surprised if you can’t stop at 5 – and if you add more later in the day.

I start my days like this and I find it almost impossible to do only 5.

Impossible to do only 5 minutes.

And impossible to stop.

Gratitude is the change agent that eludes everyone that is right in front of our eyes.

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Getting Out of a Slump

Already – just a few weeks into the 2017-18 NHL hockey season, one of the league’s top stars found himself in a slump.

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews had a great rookie year last year but as with all athletes (and the rest of us) slumps happen.

In hockey, the players grab the stick harder and bear too much thus continuing the sub-par performance.

In baseball, players pick up bad habits trying to get rid of bad habits that came out of nowhere. 

  • Repeat this positive phrase – This slump will not last forever.  I will beat it.  Outlast it.  Won’t let it wear down my confidence.  I will look at a slump as a test of my will.
  • A winning streak usually follows a slump – True of athletes who once they break through make up for the lost time.  Also, true of the rest of us who may feel we’re frustrated to perform at our best level when we are feeling pressure.
  • Learn from a slump – When what we want or are accustomed to producing evades us, a slump can be a benefit if it tests our will to succeed.  Nothing is more valuable than to deeply believe that we have the will to succeed.  A slump lets us show it.

No one says you have to like a slump in your work or personal life, but it is not the end of the world.

In fact, it’s the beginning of a new winning streak once you test your will to persevere.

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Working Virtual

43% of U.S. employees work remotely all or part of the time according to a new Gallup Poll.

IBM pioneered telecommuting but now has had a change of heart citing new research.

So IBM is calling their workforce back to the office to collaborate face to face on problem solving.  40% of IBM’s workforce was working remotely in 2009.  Whether reverting back is a more productive solution, time will tell.

But for employees who resist (including me as I work 80% remotely), there are hidden benefits.

Telecommuting often runs into personal hours and has been accepted routinely as part of the territory.  But in France there are laws that forbid employers from requiring their employees to answer work emails after hours.

Personal and work get mixed together.  Just check Instagram for any person you know who is working remotely and don’t be surprised to find that they have commented or posted content (same with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks).  You can see their “likes” even if they don’t publicly post.

Family and inter-personal time gets compromised.  How many dinners or night time hours are interrupted by someone on your team working virtually?

The answer may not be in banning virtual work platforms although the research clearly favors the results when people work together face to face.

More importantly, be cognizant of how working remotely leaves your life more remote from the people you care about.

Then fix it.

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