Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Over at Ask a Manager, a reader complains about (Item 2) having to send information to coworkers repeatedly. (The reader makes travel arrangements for a university's invited speakers.) One of Allison Green's suggested solutions is as follows:
I wonder if the problem is that you're including the faculty host on all the back-and-forth, meaning that they have a bunch of emails that they don't really need and thus are more easily missing the ones they do need. Could you stop including them on all that correspondence, and just wait until you have a confirmed itinerary to send? At that point, you could send all the details in one email with a clear subject line ("Falcon Flanagan's itinerary info for 10/7 seminar"). [bold added]This reminds me of something I call "warning label fatigue," in which regulators force manufacturers to add so many unnecessary warning labels (noise) to things that the necessary ones (the signal) become less likely to be noticed. It also reminds me of an organizational principle I wearily remember any time I move: Having one of something you can locate is better than having a dozen that you can't.
Man's mind is powerful, but can deal with only so much information at once. When unit-economy can't come to the rescue, organizational skills can help. Allison Green's reader was failing to essentialize or organize the information he was supposed to provide, which meant that he effectively kept his mouth shut.