Recently, I’ve noticed that our team sends a lot of emails back and forth. And, this is good! This means that all the individuals at Lighthouse Conferencing thrive off of team collaboration! However, many times members of the team are CC’d on emails where it hasn’t been clear what the “ask” is. Is everyone who is CC’d on the email supposed to reply with a decision, or just one team member? Is the sender recommending a decision? Or is the email simply just an “FYI”?
In order to reduce some of the “noise” that sometimes gets lost in our inboxes during team collaboration, we put an email process in place. When sending emails and ideas out to one another, it is encouraged to think about the following framework, and use it to our benefit. This may really help the team collaboration process at your organization as well!
First, there really are only 3 types of communication:
These 3 identifiers tell the person you’re communicating with “Why are you here?”, or “Why am I getting this email?”
- FYI (For Your Information): This type of communication is only to inform members of your team of a useful piece of information. Usually, no action is needed from other members of the team.
- FSA (For Situation Awareness): This is information that will be needed in order to make a decision, or know what’s going on.
- FYD/A (For your Decision/Action): This is the “ask”. Highlighting an FYD or FYA in communication is the piece of the puzzle that will stimulate team collaboration. In order to present your FYD/A to a certain member of the team, use an “@” followed by their name (ie. @Marc: What tool are we currently using for ______?)
The next step is to present your information! Follow this simple format to present your information clearly:
- Title: Is the 3 word title of the issue?
- Background: What’s the 2-3 line background?
- Criteria: What are the 2-3 “criteria” for this?
- Options: List out the options and what you see
- Recommendation: What are you recommending and why?
- Views of Others: This is my favorite and perhaps the most impactful. This is where you will address possibly concerns, view points, etc. of the other members of the team involved.
- Action Items: This is where you will specifically call out individual members of the team or the entire team on the action items you will need from them to move forward. This is similar, if not the same as the FYD/A as explained above.
See the email below for an example of how to use the above format:
This process accomplishes many things at once:
Employees and requestors are challenged to really think about an issue before passing it up the ladder. I’ve always found that employees and people in general are more capable than I or they think they are! Using this process, they are able to think through a situation and the answer will become very apparent which allows for faster decision making and empowering employees to make big decisions.
In addition, this framework is a time saver for everyone involved and creates a nomenclature and structure that becomes familiar. Once you have a familiar structure in place the team can get into a business rhythm. Knowing how problems will be presented and what kind of response you should expect is almost as important as the decision itself. Everyone likes boundaries and rules they understand. This framework accomplishes that quite easily.
Communication and collaboration in today’s business environment is complex. It’s an intricate web of service tools, training people how to communicate properly, and equipping our employees with the ability to make good decisions in this lightening fast-paced business game we’re all playing.
Let me know if you have any questions on the communication framework discussed here and please keep the discussion going in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your ideas for keeping collaboration and communication on track.
Learn more about how Lighthouse Conferencing’s services can help stimulate more organized team collaboration within your company
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