Last week Ferrari announced a policy intended to end the madness: Effectively immediately, internal emails can be sent to only three people. Professionals everywhere could be heard dreaming about not only driving the coveted sports car, but also working in such a sane office environment.

 

The fallout could be interesting. Ferrari is encouraging (‘forcing’ would be a better word) people to “talk more and write less.” On the surface, it seems a logical and reasonable policy.

 

What makes a policy work, however, is when we are equipped to accomplish an objective through means other than what has now become outlawed. For example, sustained high performance can only be accomplished when, at a minimum, these two questions can be answered by teammates:

 

1)      What do I need to know?

2)      Why should I care?

 

No longer able to hide behind the mass email, how will teammates ensure their colleagues have such information? How will they build the trust necessary when Department A discovers that Department B never informed them of their actions? (Note: Telling people on the phone or at the entrance to their cubicle the answers to the above questions has limited effect and often backfires.)

 

This space is not advocating for more emails. Ferrari may well now be engineering more than great cars. What’s worth exploring with our own team is this: Few people have successfully ended any behavior without first developing a new capability in its place.

 

What will you build today?

 

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