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Is Your Email a Progress Trap?

Apr 05, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Has technology really made day-to-day communication easier? 

Most would never choose a return to the days of the fax machine or expensive phone calls in favor of the wonderful ability to instantly FaceTime a daughter across the country or text congratulations to a friend in another country.

But what about the vast amount of undesirable and expectation-laden messages you receive every day?

We create a progress trap when our ingenuity is used to solve one large problem that inadvertently causes new problems that affect our quality of life.

The taming of fire, creation of cities, and industrial revolution all led to lurches forward, while each improvement also brought with it progress traps.


Imagine a week without receiving an email. It's certainly an attractive thought, right? 

However, anyone who can recall sending multiple faxes or waiting weeks for a signed form to arrive from the post office would never celebrate the elimination of email. 

Maximum Progress, Minimum Traps

Effective leaders maximize progress and minimize traps. 

What proactive measures could eliminate many of the frustrations we have with email?

This complex question is one of the many burdens and joys of leadership.

Email solutions are not all that complicated and require more thoughtfulness than research to lead a discussion, develop a team solution, and reinforce new agreements.

 Here are a few favorite internal email protocols from people we coach:

🔅 We send work emails between 8am and 5pm from Monday to Friday, unless it is an emergency or requested.

🔅 Emails with a delayed send are timed between 10am and 2pm.

🔅 Any email sent by 5pm will be read by 1pm the following work day. 

🔅 Subject lines must be written or changed in replies to reflect the subject of the message. 

🔅 Group messages are sent only when the information is necessary for the entire group.

🔅 Reply All is used only when requested by the sender. 

🔅 NRP in the subject line means no reply please and responses should be made in person. 



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