Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Action Required

Little kids have different ways of trying to get attention. Sometimes it involves screaming. Sometimes it involves tears. Sometimes it involves breaking something or hitting a sibling.

Some parents have more than one child. These same parents also have a limited amount of time and attention they can give any one particular child at any particular time. Still, that doesn’t stop some kids from continuing to scream until they get what they want, or until the parent works with them to correct the behavior.

It’s not enough to say that kids will just grow out of it. Some never do.

While working in banking, I had a district manager who would send out 20 to 25 emails a day directed toward the branch managers, including me. Most days I was swamped with helping customers, training employees, making sure we were in compliance with all the federal regulations, and so on. You know, doing my job.

My boss would get mad that we wouldn’t reply right away to his emails, even when he put in the email a deadline when he demanded a response. It came to a head during one of our monthly managers’ meetings.

“We simply aren’t by our computers all day,” said one manager.

“We check our emails as often as we can,” another manager said.

“We try to respond, but there are simply too many emails for us to keep up with,” said another.

As a group, we discussed various ways we could address the emails that were time sensitive, meaning they needed to be replied to by a certain time. The solution was for our manager to include the words “Action Required” in the subject line of the really important emails to make sure we knew that those particular emails needed to be addressed first when wading through the sea of emails we got each day.

It seemed like a reasonable plan and it even worked for a few days.

However, within a week, we were back to getting 20 to 25 emails a day from our boss, and each one had the words “Action Required” in the subject line. 

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