Thanks for all of the responses. At this point, I have nearly ten promising case studies. The balcony is closed.
My next book, Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It, will examine technology, language, and business communication. (Read the announcement here.)
Although I have plenty of opinions and thoughts on these topics, I am not just looking inward. As I did with The New Small, Too Big to Ignore, and The Visual Organization, I am reaching outward, In those books, I solicited proper case studies to make them richer. I just think that, if at all possible, that’s the right way to do research and write a business book.
What am I looking for this time? Funny you should ask. Here are a few types of questions to think about:
- Do you work with people who rely upon e-mail far too often and/or when it’s not appropriate? Don’t get me wrong. E-mail is critical in many if not most organizations, but there’s certainly a time and place for it. Did something huge fall through the cracks at the last minute because someone erroneously believed that sending an e-mail was sufficient?
- Are any of your employees too text- and acronym-happy? Has your organization lost deals because prospective clients couldn’t get a timely and appropriate response in plain English from, you know, a human voice?
- Could your organization have ever averted a massive problem–or at least minimized it–if the key parties had just taken five minutes to get on a call together?
- Have you ever tried to show someone a new way of doing things only to be rebuffed? For instance, have you ever told the guy who sends 30-mb e-mail attachments that it’s not 1998 and there are better ways? (WeTransfer, DropBox, Box.Net, and others.)
- Have you come across any employees, consultants, software vendors, thought leaders, and/or management types who routinely use words incorrectly in a vain attempt to sound smart? I’m not talking about people who legitimately make mistakes (e.g., verbiage). Do you work with individuals who believe that they’re effectively explaining technology-related things when they’re only confusing others?
- Did you ever leave a job because of the organization’s unwillingness to embrace new applications and tools?
- Did your team, department, or organization miss key deadlines because a software salesperson or vendor couldn’t communicate effectively? Did a team suffer because several members’ communication skills weren’t up to snuff?
- On the positive side, is your organization using a raft of truly collaborative tools like Asana to manage projects and actually get work done?
I am particularly interested in the effects that poor business communication habits and styles have on others. Does that mean that I need some type of ROI calculation? Of course not. At the same time, though, I’m looking for more than just complaints like “Saul would never talk about our meth business in person; he always wanted to use a secure line.”
Here’s a very simple FAQ. Click on the question to expand the answer.
My boss uses jargon repeatedly and no one understands him. I don’t want to get fired. Can I contribute anonymously?
Yes. My first book is replete with pseudonyms. I didn’t want to get sued. More important, I respect the confidentiality of my sources.
Does my contribution have to be unnamed?
What do I get in return?
I believe that writing is cathartic. I’ve saved thousands of dollars that I would have spent on shrinks. Beyond that, if your contribution makes it into the book, I’m happy to hook you up with a free physical copy of when it’s published in mid-2015.
OK. How do I get started?
Click here to go to a Google form.
Does filling out that form guarantee that my unedited contribution makes it into the book?
No. Not all rants are book-worthy, much less without an edit.
Thanks and let me know if you have any questions.