Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
February 2010


Welcome to the Clear Thoughts™ newsletter from Uncommon Clarity

In This Issue
  • How We've Helped Others - Would This Help You?
  • Productivity Thoughts - Too Much To Do?
  • Productivity Thoughts - 10 Tips for Smarter Email
  • Parting Thoughts - On Change

  • Productivity Thoughts - Too Much To Do?

    If you are like most people, you have too much to do, especially those of you currently operating with reduced staff and feeling the pressure to accomplish more than ever. To top it off, this pressure and stress is probably making you less productive when you really need to be more productive. Now, more than ever, it is important to remove the obstacles that prevent you from focusing on and completing the important tasks while dismissing the unimportant.

    What are those obstacles? How can you remove them?

    For a simple diagnostic article that can help you find and conquer your obstacles, read:

    "So Much To Do, So Little Time"

    If you would like some help, give us a call at 1- 800-527-0087. It is hardest to see opportunity in the routines closest to you.

    Productivity Thoughts - 10 Tips for Smarter Email

    Email is just WAY too easy. That "reply-all" button in particular should require a license to operate. Here are 10 tips to save all of us time. Pass this newsletter around your company and community and maybe together we can reduce some of the unnecessary volume that is clogging inboxes, increasing stress, and destroying productivity.

    1. If you don't know what you are trying to accomplish, don't try to accomplish it via email.
    2. If your email is going to lead to an email, which is going to lead to another email, which is going to lead ... you get the idea, don't use email. Get on the phone or out of your chair and have a real conversation. Only use email when you believe you can accomplish your purpose in one round trip - one message and one response.
    3. Keep email short and to the point. What specifically do you need from the other person? If detail or background information is necessary, use the first few sentences to clarify the question, assignment, decision, or other purpose. Don't assume people will read more than the first paragraph unless you give them good reason. If you bury important information below, it may never see the light of day.
    4. Distinguish between requests for action and information (FYI). If you are simply keeping people informed, include an FYI at the top. You might want to let them know why you think they might be interested. Simply put, help people process your email quickly.
    5. If you read an email that was just sent and requires a response, you are usually better off picking up the phone than replying by email. A quick phone conversation can often prevent several email rounds. To make this fast and easy, always include your phone number after your name - your signature file can do this for you.
    6. Providing options can speed results. This is particularly true if you are trying to schedule a meeting. "I can meet at these three times. Do any of these work for you?" This works for other situations too. "I can send you a draft or we can arrange a time to talk on the phone first or we can meet. Which makes sense to you?"
    7. Don't send a vague request to anyone, but especially not to multiple people. If multiple people receive a request, it is easy for them to assume the others will and should act while they do nothing.
    8. Don't use email for emotional or sensitive issues. You will spend more time later trying to undo the damage done by the misunderstandings.
    9. If you write an email when you are mad, wait 24 hours before sending it. Presumably by then you will realize that while writing it helped you out, sending it will help no one out!
    10. Don't reply-all unless you absolutely believe everyone needs to know.

    Parting Thoughts - On Change

    "All appears to change when we change."

    Henri-Frédéric Amiel
    Swiss philosopher

    Best regards,

    Ann's Signature

    Ann Latham

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    © 2010 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.

    How We've Helped Others - Would This Help You?
    Ann Latham

    We helped a subsidiary of a large corporation and a suppllier to Boeing make the transition from a small, ad-hoc R&D shop to a disciplined organization capable of repeatable processes able to deliver quality parts on time. Specific results included quality, cost and productivity improvements along with their first booked production order and AS9100 registration.

    "On a collaborative project with Boeing Phantom Works, Ann did a tremendous job in identifying the cost drivers, producibility issues, and productivity barriers of a supplier organization, all of which were impeding the success of our project. With Ann helping to provide the focus and oversight, the supplier was able to meet their commitments for quality, cost, and schedule."

    Ed Gerding, Chief Engineer C-17 St. Louis, The Boeing Company

    Could we help you? Give us a call and let's talk about what you would like to accomplish. 413-527-3737.

    Media Sightings:

    "Sometimes a Great Project - 8 Secrets of Top Project Managers" published in Project Times

    "Extreme Training" - Ann quoted in Training Magazine

    "Why Training Fails" by Ann Latham

    Latham Elevated to Master Facilitator

    "Water Guns Enliven Meetings" - AOL Small Business quotes Ann

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