Recently, I read an article in The New York Times, “OMG! It’s Steve Jobs!” which reports that Jobs is creating worldwide “buzz” by responding personally to emails.
Whether he is actually responding personally or is having someone else respond for him, he is being really smart. First, he will learn things and get ideas he would otherwise not have. Second, the “free” PR is worth its weight in gold.
Email can be a powerful management tool. When I start a new project, and there are more employees than I can possibly ever meet/talk with in person, I circulate a confidential employee survey (not generated from the client’s server) and give employees a personal email address to which they can send me confidential information.
These surveys and emails have become a powerful way for me to find out about problems and to develop solutions incredibly more quickly than I would otherwise be able to do—problems that some people at “corporate” may not know about, may want to hide, or may be afraid to share.
More about corporate politics and their impact on turnaround efforts in a later post.