Monday, January 20, 2014

I really like this post from LT Ryan Haag about taking time to read

The BOLD in this post is my own highlighting of Ryan's points.

Seth Godin nails it about taking time to actually read:  His post is HERE.

It is AMAZING to me the number of people that don't read email.  The conversation I get normally goes like this:

"Hey, did you read my email? I need an answer about X."

"No man, I didn't have time. It was too long."

Even more amazing is the number of people that don't read papers that are routed to them.

It would seem everyone is in such a hurry because of all the work that needs to be done that there simply isn't enough time to read.  Except that when I walk around, I see people updating Facebook, chatting about sports or their latest shopping trip, or in general not working balls to the wall.

I refuse to believe that you don't have time to read email, or papers, or whatever comes across your desk.  While I do believe that if you send your boss a long email you should put a Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) line at the top so that he or she can get the gist, most of my emails are one paragraph.  Telling me you can't read it because you are so busy really tells me you don't care, that my issue is less important than you updating your Facebook status.

I read every piece of paper that comes across my desk.  The great thing about this is that over time I get better and better at reviewing.  I'm able to work through a stack of routine papers in only fifteen minutes because I have learned what good and bad paperwork looks like.  Besides, if I'm going to sign my name on it, I should at least go through it to make sure it doesn't come back to bite me.

By no means am I perfect, but the only way to get better at reviewing paperwork and working through email taskers is to actually read them.  If you're one of those folks that says you're too busy, stop lying to the rest of us and simply admit you are lazy and not prioritizing those that took the time to do the research and send you a well written email.

Read all of Ryan's stuff.  I have not been disappointed once.  You can click on his blog at the top of my WORTH YOUR TIME, ALWAYS widget on the top left side of my Blog or go HERE.


HMS Defiant said...

He has a point but he is making the wrong one. Learn to write well. Be concise. I hate the term BLUF. If you send me a pamphlet FYI, include a summary up front or I'll probably ignore it if it isn't immediately apparent to me that it is somehow germane.
When you get 1200 messages/day AND email, then yeah, you don't read it all. That was in the management of defense acquisitions world I was in for 5 years. I was a PM and APM. The admirals I knew were getting an average of 500-800 emails a day.
Sit in a senior captain's office with him going over common business and listen to the little ping and chime that come from his personal phone, his blackberry and his navy phone as each incoming message announces its arrival. These guys already sorted out all the crap with filters. Those are the ones that mostly need his attention.
Travel with an admiral and watch the near desperation as they try to get time on both nipr and sipr so they can stay on top of the tsunamis of information that get directed their way.
It's not like the olden days when idiot XOs at ASU Bahrain would probably announce to all and sundry that, "they don't read their message traffic" and that's why nobody handled your LOGREQ.

Anonymous said...

For email senders, a corollary to HMS' points above is to consider whether that email really needs to be sent at all. Most minor updates can be consolidated into a single update or given verbally at periodic meetings.

Anonymous said...

Taking the time to read is important. Taking the time to respond in kind to what you have read is even more important. After all, isn't that what the writer of what you read was after? ANSWER YOUR MAIL!

Anonymous said...

Anon, I take your points, however, the job is not "to read and reply to all." The job is a demanding mission that devours time. It requires prioritizing how you spend time. Reading is on the list but it is not, the list.

Also, as priorities are handled in order, sometimes low priority stuff falls in a crack. A reminder does not go amiss.

Anonymous said...

The "Congressional Approach" is now the preferred approach in the Navy. No need for you to read the instructions before you sign them because no one is going to use them as they were intended. The only signature you possess that interests me is the one on my special request chit or my leave request. Thanks anyway, LT!

Anonymous said...

Had a CO who ordered me to rewrite our 30 year old refueling bill. I did. Three times. He told me there wasn't enough meat. I went to a friend on a precom CG and borrowed a floppy with his fueling instruction, did a name change and replace on it and submitted it for signature. Never heard the subject raised again.

You're right. Nobody reads BS instructions.