Who would you rather be…?

Time to Read – Don’t – do something more useful, instead

Who would you rather be…?

Someone with a reputation for knowing a lot, or for doing a lot? 

Which would you rather have…?

In your organisation – someone with a head full of knowledge, who does nothing with it, or someone who applies what they know, however little it may be?

The knowledge economy, the so-called information age – is alive, thriving and totally irrelevant

Because there is too much of it – an overwhelming “too much.”

Being served a coffee is like being a contestant on Mastermind, we don’t watch TV programmes anymore, we surf them, and as for work – we do that at the weekend, as we spend all day reading and sending emails, attending meetings and reorganising paper.

Just as we rush rush with ever more accelerating data, knowledge and information, most organisations continue to stand still.

It doesn’t have to be like that:

  1. Next meeting have a clear Outcome, bring truth in the room, make true decisions and have a clear single page action plan – oh yes, and a time limit that you keep to.
  2.  Take a very deep breath, reaching for that number one priority – the one marked “too difficult” and DO something about it – oh yes, and dust off your childhood dream, before you are too old to be able to dust.
  3. When you get back from holiday, instead of reading your emails – delete them. People will call you for the important ones – oh yes, (and set up a separate folder (call it “ignore”) for all emails you are cc copied on.

It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know, that really matters.

Everything else is just noise.

With my love and best wishes

David

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15 Comments

  • Alan

    I totally agree. Deep six the email. It’s liberating!
    And besides, no-one ever follows them up! CC’s are a back covering waste of time. My team don’t bother to cc me in because they know I trust them to do the job – & besides – I can see it in the results – which I now have time to read.
    Great article David!

  • It’s not usual that I disagree with the sentiment of my ‘Weekly Dose of David’ – most weeks there is something encouraging or thought-provoking, but whilst I would dearly love to delete my email, working as a lawyer I would get a heap of claims if I deleted them and relied on people bothering to follow up.

    Judge – “Mr Hulatt, did you or did you not receive the email shown at page 54 of the bundle?”
    Alternative Me – “I don’t know – I deleted about 800 on my return from leave on the basis that anything important would be followed up.”

    – far from convinced that would be a happy place to be…

    • David

      Hi Lewis thank you for your ongoing thoughts and contributions – especially this one! Yes, I see your point! Well, there is only what works and what does not…

  • Ian Cawson

    A pragmatic approach to improving time management, concentrate on the essentials whilst gaining personal time. Certainly browse my mails before deleting though.

  • Robert Hunt

    David

    I couldn’t agree more on the information front.
    Know how and knowledge should not be undervalued however- what is needed, as I am sure you will agree, is the capacity and commercialism needed to convert that knowledge and know how in to action.
    I shall follow your advice on the email front( I receive several hundred a day on occasions) -often the cc mentality is used to involve you in decisions by association when a phone call or direct approach would be more appropriate.

    With emails( and this is good from and environmental company) one can often work on the “Compost principle”- if it is relevant it will re-surface!!

    Best regards

  • Harry Peake

    I had a friend who worked for Coutts and one day, it all got so much for him, he picked all the files up on his desk and threw them in the air.
    Then he walked out.
    I suspect this is the same as deleting emails. Just get rid of the stress and anything important will be brought to your attention again. Sounds simple.

  • Francis Greve

    Deleting emails would be a good idea because, essentially, 80% of them would be junk anyway in most cases.
    All you need to do is not worry about the other 20% because if something isn’t actioned and needs to be, the person who sent the important email would soon be on your back asking why you haven’t actioned it.
    ‘I am sorry, I didn’t receive that email!’
    Easier than you think in reality although I accept Lewis’s point that in some professions it might not be a prudent thing to do.

  • Sue

    I’m a PA and point 3 is music to my ears. I always take three weeks holiday during the summer and can’t wait to press the ‘delete’ key. I wonder what my lovely boss will have to say xx

  • Boris Cahn

    Delete, is such a great word, it has such great connotations.
    of course, no one is really brave enough to delete all their emails as there might be one in there with the business proposition to end them all.

  • Liam Roake

    Deleting emails might be liberating but may not be such a good idea in the long run because you might miss out on something important.
    A newspaper journalist friend of mine always says how she loves coming back to work with a clear desk policy after a holiday but she still needs her emails because there could be a potential story in there and she would be starting from scratch without leads, etc.
    Much as i like the concept I can see how it might not be too practical.

  • David Taylor

    Thank you for all your comments – blimey, that nl week could have just said “delete all your emails”!

  • Michael Sumner

    Emails was the most eye-catching point made.
    I prefer the truth in the room one myself.
    There is absolutely no reason why people should not be honest about things and confront them in front of others.
    The single thing that holds companies back in terms of productivity is grievances between team members – politics as it is widely known.
    Just get the subject out there, discuss, move on.

  • I once sat in a meeting with a big corporate client where they were planning the agenda for an upcoming 2 day seminar for senior managers on a hot issue. 20 people would attend from across the world. After 5 hours the discussion had gone absolutely nowhere, just people showing off their knowledge, and they were nowhere near deciding an agenda. Why? 1. Too many insecure egos. 2. no clear outcome for the seminar in mind.

    This taught me to ask myself one crucial question b4 every course I run, every talk I give and every meeting I chair: “what do we want? What do we want people to think, feel, say and do when they leave this room today?”

    And also, my favourite quote ever: “If you know but do not do, you do not know.”

    Dx

  • Maureen

    Reaching out for that number one priority is what I like to do and I will be doing just that this week.
    It’s the way I operate.
    Do the hard tasks first, then the others after that.
    Getting that one you dread off the list is liberating and makes the rest seem easy by comparison.

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