Working with a new client, I sent their group of managers a survey through Google Forms. Google makes it easy, after all. The trouble is I have roughly 1.3 million Google accounts, each for one thing or another. Despite my thinking I checked and double-checked from which account I was sending the form, I didn’t use my thom-at-discoversendline-dot-com. A few days later, I got an email from one of them telling me they had found it in their spam folder. Oops.
This made me think: why don’t I just build a form on my website? Why, in other words, don’t I do something better?
Boom. Done. But only because I screwed up. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have asked that question. Making mistakes, duh, are what push me to not make them again. To be better.
As a manager, this was one of the toughest things I had to learn. To let those who called me their boss screw up. It’s the same with my kids. The lesson Google taught me this week was a good reminder of why.
Oh yes, more communication-type stuff this week. My thought: past tense and present tense.
It’s Thursday morning and I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike for this week’s random thing. It just did. I was writing to my buddy Trey. He and I worked together at REI and I’ve always respected him as a boss and as a leader. He’s one of the good ones. He recently had to make a tough decision to leave the company and heads out in about a week. In my email, I told him:
No wonder folks looked up to you as much as they did.
Then I caught myself. Wait, so they don’t anymore like that was in the past? I fixed it to be more accurate:
No wonder folks look up to you as much as they do.
Yep, that’s better. Heck, I’m pretty sure there’ll be folks in his future who’ll look up to him, too.
This is for all of us who have spent way too much time over the past twelve months staring at ourselves and lots of other people through our computer screens. For futzing about how we look, stressing about what we’re going to say, feeling like we have to figure out how to become an actor. It’s to celebrate awkwardness, the kind that happens because life can be awkward and it’s best to embrace it. It’s to take a minute and chuckle, or if you’re like me, bust out laughing for way too long and catching your breath because you’re sort of choking.
Behold, if you haven’t already, the I’m not a cat guy.
Admittedly, I’m only sharing this because he embraced his awkwardness and hoped it would bring some much-needed laughter. That it did. Thank you, Rod.
I was writing to the founder of 4by6.com to let him know again how much I love his service. I realize, time and again, I tend to write the way I think. Which is to get straight to the point. So in my email to him, I jumped in and blurted out why I was writing. At the very end, I tossed in an ‘I hope you’re well!’
When I reread it, I realized I had it backward. So I cut out that sentiment and pasted it at the very beginning. Duh.
This happens to me a lot. I do this when I’m writing copy for Sendline, an email to someone, even notes to myself. I’ll write a bunch of stuff to try and make a point, and when I go back to reread it, realize I’ve put the most important thing at the end. So same drill: I cut it and paste it to the beginning.
For an example, last year I came across this letter from Adam, the CEO of Innovex, to Steve, the CEO of VF Corp. Not wanting to get into the debate it kicked off, I couldn’t help notice how the letter began. A bunch of facts. A page-and-a-half of them, in fact. Fast-forward to the middle of page two, the second paragraph from the end, where Adam writes, ‘At this point, you may wonder why I am directing this letter to you… ’ Boom! That seems to be the most important piece, yet just like me, he put it at the end.
Like using the word ‘but,’ or ‘just,’ I’ve become hyper-aware of this little fault of mine. The good thing? After catching it and giving myself a facepalm, I correct it.