15 Chapters
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12 A Blue Sky Wrap Up

Song, Mike; Halsey, Vicki; Burress, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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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1 Confessions of an Info-Hamster

Song, Mike; Halsey, Vicki; Burress, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I was working peacefully in my office when the door slowly opened and shut with a click. I looked up but no one was there. “You’d better be able to help me!” said a small voice. Was this a joke?

I stood up and that’s when I saw him. Trudging across the floor, tugging on his tie, was a small, nervous-looking white hamster with brown spots. He was wearing a dark blue business suit and carrying a small black briefcase. He looked tired and defeated.

“I hear you’re the so-called productivity expert,” he said. “I’m Harold.”

I leaned down to shake his paw, “Pleased to meet you, Harold. And yes, my passion is helping professionals lead more productive and fulfilling lives.”

Harold raised his eyes hopefully. “Maybe I’m in the right place after all,” he muttered.

Once I’d gotten over my initial shock that Harold was a hamster, I realized that he was my 1:30 PM appointment.

“Welcome, Harold! Please sit down and tell me what brings you here.”

Harold hopped into a chair facing my desk. As he leaned back, his wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) buzzed loudly. Harold looked down at it, lost his balance, and almost fell through the gap in the back of the chair. He scrambled frantically to keep from falling and eventually regained his composure.

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7 Strategy 3: Info-Coaching Sustains Results

Song, Mike; Halsey, Vicki; Burress, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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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Appendix 2: Case Study: Capital One’s Email Efficiency Solution

Song, Mike; Halsey, Vicki; Burress, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This case study underscores the value of implementing Hamster Revolution insights across a large organization. This case study can also be found at get.control.net

Challenge: Capital One is an organization that constantly strives to maximize productivity. When internal surveys revealed that email overload was a growing productivity challenge, Capital One’s Productivity Team took action.

Solution: The Capital One Productivity Team partnered with Mike Song and Tim Burress from getcontrol.net to develop a groundbreaking email efficiency workshop. The Capital One Productivity Team played a major role in shaping the program. The workshop contained insights and exercises found in The Hamster Revolution and other getcontrol.net seminars. Over 2,000 Capital One associates participated in this extremely successful learning and development experience.

Capital One (COF) has earned a sterling reputation for innovation, customer service, and leadership in the diversified financial services sector. Capital One manages $103 billion in assets for over 50 million customers worldwide.

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Appendix 1: Fast Answers for Busy Hamsters

Song, Mike; Halsey, Vicki; Burress, Tim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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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