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December 12, 2005

News & Opinion: Outside of the Inbox

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 8:19 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I keep picking up Todd's book, More Space, from time to time and reading a bit more. It's divided into nine stories so I almost feel encouraged to jump around from story to story, reading as time allows.
The other day I was chatting with a friend about one of the stories: Work is Broken -- Here's How We Fix It by Marc Orchant. It's interesting because people (not meaning to generalize, as I'm sure not everyone does this) become stuck in their ruts, routines, or whatever you prefer to call them. We become so accustomed to one method, system, and/or set of rules that we start living within these boundaries. We stop reaching beyond them even while the world around us keeps growing and innovating.
It's the Einsteins, Newtons, and the Edisons of the world that keep us on our toes -- that keep us from becoming too complacent.
The question is, how do we mirror our outside world to innovate and grow within the work world? How do we ensure that our processes, methods and routines complement the capabilities of the world?
I don't have an answer for that--at least not on a Monday. I doubt that Marc would admit having an answer to that, either. (Not knowing Marc personally, I cannot speak for him). Nonetheless, Marc does offer a few tips on how to fix our broken work place. Here's a morsel of one of his tips and the reason for the blog title.
Marc steps outside of the subject, recipient and date method of classifying emails in an inbox. He provides nine tags for senders to use to label their emails. When placed before the email subject, the tags enable recipients to easily wade through their emails without opening each email and reading the content.
Here's a few of his tags:
RRAL: Reply Requested at Leisure

URG: Urgent

NRN: No Reply Necessary

IMP: Important (but not requiring action)

Now it's your turn. In what ways do you step out of your inbox? What methods to you use at your company to encourage growth and innovation?

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.