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March 14, 2013

Holy Smokes! New Cardinal rule for leaders: No cell phones in meetings


I got a call from a reporter from the this week, asking about whether we see companies banning cell phones in meetings much like the Vatican is doing with the Cardinals

His query made me think more broadly about some of the recent moves by companies that impact how employees communicate and collaborate.  Here are just a few:

  • A number of companies who’ve made critical announcements and asked top leaders to leave their cell phone at the door, and/or sign mini-contracts regarding confidentiality
  • Companies moving away from or limiting the use of email
  • Yahoo CEO’s move to call virtual workers back to their offices, and Best Buy’s declaration that employees who work-from-home need to talk with their bosses about how to make the arrangement successful
  • A client of ours enacted norms around email usage and re-set expectations, resulting in a 15% reduction in email volume after 6 months

I think we’re going to see more companies with bold and sometimes unpopular policies about how people communicate and work together.

Since self-policing and good judgment are in short supply inside many organizations, the result I believe will be more rules and guidelines that set expectations with employees.  In many cases, this has been long overdue.

It’s human nature that most people rise to the occasion when expectations are set, and most senior leaders think employees “get” their (unarticulated) expectations:  “They know what I expect,” I often hear.  “Really? Have you asked them?  How do you know for sure?”

All that said, I still believe one of the best ways to address misbehaviors in the workplace is by each of us to coach others in a kind and caring way.  Someone working on their computer during a face-to-face meeting?  Speak up.    Someone using their cell phone during a business lunch?     Speak up. 

What have you left unsaid when it comes to misbehaviors in the workplace?

-          David Grossman


Avoid workplace misbehaviors, starting with e-mail, today. Click below to download our Taming the Email Monster ebook and more!


 email research, email etiquette, email misbehaviors, workplace email

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