*This is a follow-up to this blog post.

You know what’s not perfect? Everything…true statement. But what seems to get more and more broken in our homes and businesses is communication. With all this technology and countless ways to communicate, it’s weird that communication is suffering more than ever. Thus, none of this is presented as a silver bullet for your firm, however, doing nothing is no longer an option unless you want entropy to win the day. The below technologies, when used correctly, can be extremely powerful. When used wrongly, it can be worse than not doing, thus try to avoid the following:

  1. False Starts. I.e. don’t just roll it out whimsically (this doesn’t mean don’t test it); it needs contemplation. Don’t trust a random blogger (ha!) or a consultant without thinking through it from the lens of your culture.
  2. No Partners? No FREAKING WAY!! If the partners don’t ultimately adopt whatever it is, just stop! If they aren’t serious about it, stop. It doesn’t have to be all of them – just the ones that matter and will be around for the next decade or more.
  3. Spending big dollars. Nothing needs tons of $$$ to do in this category. For example, Sharepoint is the best technology at doing nothing that great but doing everything to varying degrees of ‘goodness/badness’. Your Sharepoint project could be liken to a government project that has cost overruns and scope creeps a’plenty. It’s a great tool if you are a developer, have a bench of developers, or don’t have budgets and tons of money!

So here it goes…a few ways to curb what plagues us.

First, to review, technology’s best definition is ‘the use of none-life to enhance life’…I don’t know who said this, but I have stolen it and think it hits the nail on the head. So always keep this in mind.

Microsoft Teams or Slack

To me, these tools are for teams (fancy that), not companies. Meaning, while the whole company may utilize it in various capacities, it’s not meant to be a chat forum for the whole crew but rather siloed, specific teams working towards some goal. Goals, or ‘channels/project/goals, could be:

  • Audit client
  • Big tax prep client that touches a few people
  • Marketing team/committee working towards a launch of a new site
  • The admin team across various offices seeking quick answers across offices
“Mail does not scale”

Email is not a way to accomplish things as a team at scale. It’s too hard to maintain, it’s fragmented, and it’s frustrating. Where there are committees, there is a better way than email – this is low-hanging fruit.

Audit Client Example

Roll it out as a test for one audit or so to a specific team.

  • Create a private group for those who are working on the audit: Partner, manager, staff.
  • Log all back-and-forth chatter here…no need to email about this project at all.
  • Make a rule: no email on this project! Pull the band-aid off all at once; it’s better that way.
  • Don’t upload docs here. Those go in Engagement, or whatever your solution is for that, so ignore that in other Teams/Slack documentation.
  • Rule of thumb: if you ask the client about the business, put the CliffsNotes in the Slack so everyone who wasn’t a part of the conversation has context.
  • After the audit, don’t delete the group. This is great context for the team that works the same audit next year. In the ‘prep list’ for next year, add ‘Review last year’s channel as a prep for this year.’ Your clients will appreciate this so they don’t have to have some of the same conversations year after year.
Committee Example

Perhaps the IT committee is the easiest place to start since these people are usually technically more inclined/curious.

  • Create a public/private channel for the IT committee members
    • Public because in theory, what you are working on is in the public domain for the firm…if not, obviously, make it private.
  • Lay ground work. No more emails about committee matters – all communication aspects can go here.
  • Meeting notes, docs, proposal go here.
    • There is no reason to have a random IT vendor proposal on your file directory for years to come that no one wants to ever delete. If you need to find it, you can come back here, but in all reality, it can go in the trash.
  • Log ideas and random thoughts here as a group. Get comfortable sharing the random and removing formalities that you would have via email.

In the next blog, we will talk about Yammer and SocialCast and how/why to use them.

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