IBM – like most organisations, has an email quota. When we go over it, you can still receive email, but you can’t send anything until you get your mail box back under your quota limit. Or in my case ask my manager to raise my quota. That’s fine, but it takes 24 hours. So I had 24 hours without email.
And I didn’t blink.
Our email system is fully integrated with instant messaging, so when I received an email most often the person who sent it was still on line, so my first reaction was to simply right click and responded through our chat system:
If people weren’t online, I called them.
If I needed to send a file, I uploaded it to our social platform (IBM Connections) and Connections sent the email notification on my behalf.
If I needed to ask a question, I posted it on their board (they got a email notification from Connections). In fact, this ended up being far more effective than email. As the questions were public, some other people jumped in and added to the answer.
I am no Luis Suarez, but this was an eye-opener. When I first met Luis I wondered whether he was customer facing, and if so how he communicated with customers. There was one message I needed to get to a customer about his meeting with Sandy Carter we had set up. So I sent him a text. I follow many customers on Twitter, so I sent them a direct message. I never even clicked on “New Message” out of habit and remembered I couldn’t send email.
Now my email is back – but it’s going to be the last collaboration tool I reach for, rather than the first.