Voice Over - 19 April 2018

This is a brief roundup of the last few threads about email, meetings, and ideas. First, I actually received very little feedback on most of these. I have a few theories about that.

Theory 1: No one is actually reading my blogs.

They are going into dev/null. This is an exaggeration, but I now have data! While Voice Over is going out to a really large group of email addresses, mailchimp tells me that a lot of folks are not opening it. I have no idea how they know that, by the way. It smacks of an embedded tracker which bugs the hell out of me. If I can figure out how to turn that off, I’ll be plunged back into the blissful lack of awareness that you aren’t reading my content, but I will also reduce my overall stalker footprint. So definitely on my to-do list.

Theory 2: Change is hard.

This is where the email/meeting topic overlaps with the Broccoli Notion. People like really new ideas, but they don’t really like to change something as fundamental as the way they process email or respond to meetings. I’m asking something that’s actually pretty damn difficult. We’ve been behaving like muppets since Pine and Lotus Notes were invented… hard habits to change. Keep working on it, people.  You’re driving me nuts.

Theory 3: You don’t care.

No really. My case for the WIIFM here was basically “Don’t bug other people with your indecisiveness, insecurity, lack of knowledge or ADHD.” Frankly, that might not resonate with a lot of people. Maybe it’s just me. This probably says a lot about me that I shouldn’t reveal in such a public forum. *cough*

Theory 4: Yeah but.

Always with the yeah buts. I actually am not interested in those. See Theory 3.
However! I did get some really good replies about meetings that pushed back a bit on the broad generalisation that meetings are stupid so don’t go.

  • Some meetings you have to go to because it is politically expedient to do so. Your brand might require your presence whenever a certain topic is tabled, or you might have competing interests who will argue against you unless you’re there to literally cross your arms and stare them down. This is a very important exception to the useless meeting rule. If you need to be in a meeting to defend your organisational territory, it isn’t actually a useless meeting; It’s a power play.
  • Another outstanding and useful reply on meetings was to delegate them to your subordinates as a leadership development opportunity. I love how this compliments the previous suggestion. For meetings where you need to be there to metaphorically pee on the table leg, send a minion. Seriously. They will learn from this experience, and your interests will be defended. Nice. But more generally, sending a second to a meeting that is useful and important is also a great opportunity for them and simultaneously provides you some calendar relief.

It’s only been a few days, but Toast’s Broccoli metaphor has inspired a few interesting responses as well.

  • Toast, broccoli is hard to cook properly. Bad metaphor.
  • Maybe you’re just getting a really bad idea seven different times, and you’re better off not paying attention. See Henry Ford who in the face of universal resistance invented the production line. Or Steve Jobs. Or what about shoulder pads, huh? Just because every Sally, Kathy, Karen, and Cynthia got them in the 80s doesn’t mean they were ever a good idea. Good point. Lots of commonly held ideas are just plain assumptions based on lack of knowledge, science, or rigor. BTW, see next week where I start to tackle that in the context of organisational culture. However, Toast, bad metaphor. 
  • Toast, broccoli is just not a delicious wholesome food. Bad metaphor.

Fun fact! Did you know that broccoli is in a category of vegetables that are known as the ‘cabbage family’? In other words, broccoli and cabbage are essentially the same vegetable. Now wrap your head around the fact that so are Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi and collard greens. And if you really want to blow your mind, how about it turns out that they aren’t really far apart in the genetic world. In fact, like Great Danes and toy cup poodles, they can actually breed. Yes, you too can put a purple cauliflower and a green broccoli together and create purple Brussel sprouts. Or something like that. No joke, it makes me wonder what the bees are doing out there.

We all need people who will give us honest feedback. That’s how we improve.” ~ Bill Gates