Those of you who know me well can testify to how obsessed I am with efficiency. When I observe wasted time, it drives me crazy. I’ve come to realize, though, that often you can achieve both — efficiency and effectiveness.
That being said, there are times when it may take longer to handle an item/issue properly. When you’re dealing with a more complicated issue, it’s better to speak in person with someone rather than communicating via an email or a text.
A few years back, I was meeting with a client and, when I asked how his day was going, his response was, “I have spent most of the day mopping up messes/misunderstandings caused by emails that should NEVER have been sent.” That’s a great example of an instance where it may have been more efficient and less stressful if the people communicating by email had spoken with their colleague directly.
Many of you are probably not aware of it, but before emails and texting, there used to be a document referred to as a memo (yes, paper) that was delivered through inter-office mail (you may not know about that, either). Back then, my mentor, Frank Moran, would instruct his team members that if their communication had any emotion involved, they should speak with the colleague or client as soon as possible. His directives were clear then and still make sense today: Do not send a memo, email, or text, or leave a voicemail message if some level of emotion might be involved; all of those forms of communication can easily be misinterpreted.
I’m guessing that most of you have experienced this unpleasant situation. My advice is to learn from your painful experience and, next time you’re dealing with something that’s really important, challenging, or difficult, resist sending an email or text.