Reducing Information Pollution
When James Thompson started his job as Diageo CMO, he tallied the number of presentation slides he was exposed to in his first two months of meetings. The final count — more than 12,000.
I read in AdAge that he started a PowerPoint ban in some Diageo meetings to “just talk to me please” and help convey that the team doesn’t have to be “totally buttoned-up all the time.”
A year ago, my boss announced that our large New York ad agency would be moving to an open office. After nine years as a senior writer, I was forced to trade in my private office for a seat at a long, shared table. It felt like my boss had ripped off my clothes and left me standing in my skivvies.
Information overload is a huge problem in today’s workplace.
It’s not uncommon for office workers to begin their day faced with dozens of new e-mail messages. Supervisors and managers have the additional burden of needing to review equipment spec sheets, read operational updates from staff and have industry magazines and association newsletters to go over.
A few weeks ago I met a guy in Kentucky who’d lived through every trend of deindustrializing America.
He grew up about 65 years ago on a tobacco and cattle farm, but he always liked engines, so even while in high school he worked 40 hours a week in a garage. Then he went to work in a series of factories — making airplane parts, car seats, sheet metal and casings for those big air-conditioning fans you see on the top of buildings.
Throughout the book Flow, a modern classic in the popular psychology canon, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi outlines his theory on how to Live Your Best Life, based on his life’s work of research on — and the title may have tipped you off here — flow, that immersive state during which you lose all track of time. What I was not expecting, upon recently reading this for the first time, was the considerable portion of the book he spends arguing that Americans “waste” their leisure time, a claim that seems worth examining on the cusp of a long weekend.
How is it even possible that Elon Musk could build four multibillion companies by his mid-40s — in four separate fields (software, energy, transportation, and aerospace)?
To explain Musk’s success, others have pointed to his heroic work ethic (he regularly works 85-hour weeks), his ability to set reality-distorting visions for the future, and his incredible resilience.
Chances are, your employees are drowning in email, text, social media and other information every day. They’re overloaded by business processes run amok — and it’s not healthy for them or your business.
You’re not alone if your company’s work processes are too complicated (and too hard to communicate). A recent Bersin by Deloitte report found that more than 70 percent of organizations surveyed rated the need to simplify work as an important problem. What’s more, 74 percent of respondents rated their work environment as complex or highly complex.
Will a team space really make knowledge workers feel less crushed by information?
Major vendors are promoting applications based around the concept of teamwork and collaborative communications, including Atos/Unify’s Circuit, Cisco’s Spark, and even the Microsoft’s trio — Office 365 Groups, Yammer, and Team Site.
Let me tell you about a typical day in my life as a working mother.
Oh, wait, there is no such thing. Read more…