Friday, July 02, 2010

conservation of responsibility

Job descriptions usually specify that they want people with good teamwork skills. That can be good, but often it means sending out lots of emails asking other people for opinions.

In my last blog post I claimed that capacity for responsibility is a scarce resource.

So lately I've been trying to reduce the number of interrupts and decisions required for decisions that come along.

Example:

me: I'm in town. Want to have lunch?
Robert: sure!
me: [checks calendar] How about Thursday or Friday?
Robert: [checks calendar] Great, let's do Friday.
me: [checks calendar] 1pm sound okay?
Robert: sure
me: [adds it to our calendars]

Totals: 7 messages, 5 decisions, 4 uses of calendar. And that's just to *schedule* it. Without even talking about where to meet. Both of us still have to check our calendars on Friday and meet at the right time.

That could have been reduced to:
me: [adds lunch to our calendars with "hey, I'm in town" to the description]

Each time someone contacts us, we get a little anticipatory shot of stress as we get ready to read it and find out whether it's good, bad or boring. Reducing that can free up a lot of responsibility for more important tasks.

1 comment:

Braden said...

Great idea.