Email is fast, efficient, and sometimes effective but it isn’t how business gets done, and it isn’t how problems are solved. More often than not, it creates and spins as many problems as it attempts to handle.
The reality is that a series of linear monologues is not a conversation and sending files in email is an inefficient way to capture, share, and manage knowledge/ideas. It also presents major issues with sharing content and handling version control on deliverables. Business runs on people period. People use passion and relational trust to collaborate with others on outcomes. Outcomes are rarely if ever achieved alone.. and even rarer do they come from simply reading an email.
Email, and even pseudo synchronous tools like IM and texting allow for humans to avoid dealing directly with one another. Instead they create a series of mini sermons. Efficient yes.. effective... I don’t think so.
When a problem is “in play” we must immediately seek the root cause and go to the source. Even in managing vaunted IT systems for both problem and incident management, this means there will be resource or team best positioned to deal with the solution. A realtime synchronous connection to the right person, quickly, is of paramount importance. Email chains get longer and longer, and in most cases aren’t fully read.. and virtually never fully understood.
Complex problems... (virtually all problems in today's business world are) require complex and nuanced communications to generate solutions. For this.. people must be able and incentivized to talk, think, and work together.... in todays world this is made immediately more complex by time and geographic dispersal. Voice and Video along with REAL collaborative software tools are the key...
Stop with the sermons and email flame wars focused on assignment of responsibility and blame. Rooted in competition.. Instead.. seek authentic collaboration.. dialogues and solutions..
Another great post related to this topic is here: Email Etiquette according to the Esquire Guy