I am really struck by Peter Bregman’s post on the Harvard Business Review site. He talks about a friend pitching for a piece of work and getting no response to follow-up voicemails or messages. This appears to be business as usual for a lot of people these days.
Peter asks (via email) the opinion of his brother, a film producer who gets 400+ emails a day. I think the response is really interesting:
“If Sam [the person being chased] has 400 emails to answer a day, 200 of which are crisis emails that he’s prioritizing and answering at, say, 2 AM on a holiday night — LIKE THIS EMAIL — then it’s not Sam’s obligation to write 200 more 30-second emails to people who Sam doesn’t need to write to. Alex [the person chasing] just needs to wait.”
I wonder about the nature of the 200 “crisis” emails? What’s happening in Haiti is a crisis. This sentiment is not untypical of a number of senior corporate people that I know who wind themselves up into a frenzy of self-dramatizing email activity in which nothing matters beyond the next incoming message. Of course, there’s no point bugging people like that – would you really want to work with them in the first place?