I have been working for myself for the last six months and it has been an amazing eye opener. It is the first time in my 15-year career that I have not been wedded to a corporate mothership, and boy does it feel good.
One of the biggest changes for me is the reduction of emails and the stress that comes with it, predominantly the avalanche of internal noise. When you are being copied and blind copied on emails that are just not relevant, internal communications lose all effect and meaning after a while. It seems that email gives validation to people’s existence in the corporate world.
Yet step out of this world, I would bet that email is one of the last forms of communication used by friends and family. I bet it is a combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, WhatsApp and even Snapchat.
In my new-found freedom, the platforms that I use daily are Slack where I have three different channels running for three different organisations I am working alongside. WhatsApp and LinkedIn also play a big role, but I only use email for arranging meetings and that is about it. Documents are managed in the cloud either via One Drive or Google Docs, making collaboration so much easier.
Social is killing email one inbox at a time
I now actively avoid email where possible. It feels so clunky and one dimensional compared to engaging on a social network or cloud based collaboration platform. All the platforms I use are built around mobile, so I can conduct probably 70% of my business on my phone. Even this blog post is being drafted on my phone whilst crammed in on the underground train in London.
So why is the corporate machine still so reliant on email? I witnessed and supported the roll out of Yammer, (now Microsoft Teams), with mixed results. Some entire business units took to it straight away. Others? Well let’s just say we had to surgically remove their old Blackberry from them, and it still didn’t work. The main difference I noted was when leadership was leading from the front, the rest followed. And those BUs where the leaders were steadfast against it didn’t happen.
Freeing up knowledge in the business
A social platform frees up the knowledge of the organisation, breaks down silos and creates a far more powerful business. We are now seeing the rise of vendor / client collaboration platforms such as ClientShare, enabling better and more effective collaboration without an email in sight.
As we start to lose the older generation at the top of the management tree, I believe the shift to social in the enterprise will start to accelerate. And those that are embracing it today are already reaping the early rewards, both internally and with their clients.
I truly believe that we are seeing email enter its twilight years and within the next 10 it will be consigned to the digital scrapheap.
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