Business Practices That Refuse To Die #44: Email Trees

Business Practices That Refuse To Die #44: Email Trees

Business Practices That Refuse To Die
#44 – Email Trees Let’s keep this simple. You need to make a decision but need the input
from four team numbers, So you draft an email and send it to the
team. Person number one replies to all. So does
person number two, but three and four only reply back to
you. In addition, unbeknownst to you, person
number four emails person number five who thinks they should have a say in the
decision as well. Person number five replies to everyone. You gather all the feedback and send the
synopsis back out to everyone. You also receive emails from persons number
one and two asking why person number five was included in on the discussion. You reply back to them that although not
ideal it’ll be okay. Person number five also forwards the email to
person number six, who, at this time also replies to all but didn’t get the last
email. So to include her you forward her the last email and cc everyone else just
let them know that person number six was in on the discussion now, too. You now email everyone with a final
decision and want their buy-in. Person number six asks for one small
change you agree, and make the change. You email everyone
again for the agreement. Everyone emails you that they agree. By the end of this madness sixty-one emails have been sent to make one decision. That certainly is not collaboration at
its finest. How can we avoid this in the future? Instead of sending in emails you ask your question in a
collaborative environment. Everyone responds and reads each
others’ responses and suggest person number five & six be invited which you do.
They, too, ready the thread, add their two bits and everyone is on the same page.
You make the final decision, person number six asks for a change.
You revise and everyone buys-off. Done. Now think about how much time your team
saved by using the collaborative space. Multiply that by the number of
in-depth email conversations you have in a day and you can see the savings. Plus the conversation is in one place, you can easily find it again if you need
to refer to it later, and saved your team a ton of email
frustration, which, always makes your team happier. Now raise your hand if you think your
team could have spent those hours doing something more valuable. Exactly So, what are you going to do about it? See for more videos.


  1. I started in the middle – but other ones are planned. What number should I give the next video? 🙂

  2. Thanks, all! As an FYI, here is another, similar video that might help. Look at "Upgrade Your Work #1: Party Planning" in my video list.

  3. Actually, I have done this on all of those situations or similar and it works like a charm. And I have seen others do the same. So, yes, it can and does still have the great benefits even in those situations.

  4. Very nice video.
    I'd like to see one on expert finding! Always a huge issue within big international corporations. Who has the right expertise and how/where can I find him/her?

  5. This is a great video. Our business has recently implemented Salesforce CRM with Chatter. This is a great video for user adoption.
    Thank you.

  6. Thank you! I did a few other videos for a client that launched Chatter as well and wanted to get better adoption. The videos are: Innovation; Pop your Communications Bubble; Collaborative Meetings (these are the generic versions of them, not the client versions). They can be found at vinjonesvideos dotcom.

  7. Thanks! I used Adobe After Effects mostly, with, of course, PhotoShop and Illustrator for the graphics, and Audacity for the voice over and music.

  8. YES! THIS! OH SO MUCH THIS! The things we use email for drives me batty, especially when there is so much awesome collaborative technology out there. I wrote a blog post about how people need to be aware of technology just recently AND I started a company to allow software providers to put activity streams in all applications! Check out Collabinate.

  9. Thanks you – this is a perfect example of collaboration tools, like Chatter can make your life easier, more efficient and dramatically reduce your emails!

  10. Hi vinJones Videos,

    Thank you for this informative video. Your post has been featured on our blog here:
    Could you please share, We would really appreciate that!

    Team sourcePEP

  11. So in the future email will be replaced by… message boards?? Um, ok. Also, damn, this company sure has met its affirmative action quotas!

  12. Actually, the idea that time is saved by using the message board instead of email, is ridiculous. Just think about it: how many lines of text does each person involved have to write and read in the email scenario? And how many in the second scenario? Right: exactly the same. The only gain in the second scenario has to do with digital space occupied by the messages. In the first scenario there is (too) much redundancy. So: good idea to switch to message boards, but please don't use the ridiculous 'hours saved' counter! By the way: the second scenario has the disadvantage that the one-to-one messages sent in the first scenario that were meant to be private, would need email as an additional means of communication in the second scenario.

  13. Would love to see a similar video tracking a giant excel spread sheet emailed for updates. This is my all time pet hate in the in the world of office working. The amount of times I hear "my spread sheet template is amazing, I will email it to you so you can use it". Then weeks later your template comes back from 4 different sources for you to re format and consolidate.

  14. Ensure a proper subject line and stick to the subject discussions  in the body . Do not go at tangent on multiple subjects in an email as this leads to confusion and improper tracing.

  15. We use this video all the time to convince middle and senior execs on the value of working out loud. Since the arrival of Slack and – in particular – Workplace by Facebook, we are starting to see this particular business practice wither on the branch…

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