Mike Song (15)
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7 Strategy 3: Info-Coaching Sustains Results


Harold leaned forward in his chair. This was the moment he’d been waiting for.

“So what about everyone else?” he asked eagerly, “How do I get others to send me better email? How do I get them to join the revolution?”

“The key is to become an effective Info-Coach.”

“How do I do that? I’m pretty new at this.”

“I understand how you feel. After all, Info-Coaching is a new concept. Only 15% of the professionals we surveyed receive regular coaching on information-management related tasks like email. Yet 89% believed that coaching could improve the value of email.”9

“Why is it so rare?” asked Harold.

“There are actually three interrelated challenges, Harold.

1. Defensiveness: Some professionals feel embarrassed or annoyed when coached on a common task like email. Sensing this, many simply refrain from coaching.

2. Lack of Execution: When people do learn a best practice or guideline, they often fail to implement it for very long because there is no tool or standard to remind them.

3. Lack of Knowledge: Without training or experience, professionals have no idea how to provide Info-Coaching.

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12 A Blue Sky Wrap Up


Harold and I sat on tall stools at a small table in the Blue Sky Café. This was our final Hamster Revolution meeting and we were toasting Harold’s excellent progress. Harold took a celebratory swig from his cup of espresso. Although the cup was small, it seemed rather large in his little paws. The staff, who knew Harold as a regular, seemed nonplussed to be serving coffee to a hamster. But many of the customers stared in disbelief. It was easy to ignore their gawking: After all, we had important things to discuss.

“It’s been an amazing week,” said Harold. “I converted everything to COTA and I’ve never been more organized. You were right about email and filing being interrelated.”

“How does it feel?” I asked.

Harold paused, “Calm and focused. That’s how I feel. On the email side, I’m sending and receiving clear, concise, and necessary messages. Just about everyone’s agreed to use the 1-2-3 and A-B-C Email Tools. And COTA has eliminated a lot of the uncertainty in my life. Now I can quickly find the documents I need to get things done. I’m still learning and I still have some fine-tuning to do, but I finally have a plan that simplifies the management of all my information. It’s a huge step forward for me.”

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Appendix 1: Fast Answers for Busy Hamsters


Over the next few months, Harold called several times to ask questions. What follows is a summary of those brief conversations.

Harold: Are there any email technology tips I could use to be more productive?

Info-Coach: Absolutely. We’ve created a free Top Tech Tips

Newsletter that you can subscribe to on getcontrol.net

Harold: Should I answer email on the fly or block out time?

Info-Coach: I recommend blocking out 30-minute periods in advance. You can process email more rapidly in batches because you can give it your undivided attention.

I also recommend disconnecting your ding — the sound or visual image your computer makes when an email arrives. Most of the time, you don’t need to be notified every time an email comes in. If you keep your ding on, it’s like planning 40–50 interruptions into every business day. On average, it takes over a minute to regain refocus after being distracted by an incoming email.14 These distractions sap your energy and slow you down. Another way to limit email interruption is to set your email to synchronize every 30 minutes instead of every 2 or 3 minutes. We show you how on get.control.net

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8 Help! It’s Not So Easy!


Later in the week, Harold pinged me via IM. I was finishing up a meeting with a client.

Harold: Coach, you there?

Info-Coach: Hi. On phone-Give me 2 mins.

Two minutes later…

Info-Coach: Okay, I’m back. Hey – You learned how to IM. Congrats!

Harold: Thanks. I’m waiting for the sales team meeting to start. I didn’t want this conversation to be overheard, so I’m using IM.

Info-Coach: I’m impressed, perfect application for IM. What’s up?

Harold: This is the HR-Sales meeting. Remember, the sales team sends those vague, confusing emails from their PDAs.

Info-Coach: Yes. I remember.

Harold: I’m a bit nervous. I asked for time on the agenda to discuss email and Dave Anderson was pretty skeptical. He cut the agenda time I reserved down to 5 minutes and said, “Email isn’t a problem here.”

Info-Coach: Okay.

Harold: Well, what if they think my presentation is a waste of time?

Info-Coach: A waste of time? 15 days for you and them? More sales + less admin = more life.

Harold: Yeah, Yeah. I get it. I still don’t know how to start. The meeting begins in 3 minutes. They’re filing in already. They look grumpy. Maybe they didn’t hit their sales quota. I think I’m gonna barf.

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