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Episode 11: No Internal Email Allowed… Seriously

Episode 11: No Internal Email Allowed… Seriously

Imagine a world with no email… Wait! How would we tell you about new product launches and podcast releases!? Learn how goodr banned internal email by using Slack and project decks, creating ultimate transparency.
quote from goodr CEO Stephen Lease
Did he say SIX work weeks?!! Per year?! Per person? Goodbye email, we’ll take our lives back now.
Every office has different email personalities. There is the person who never responds to shit, and the person that stays at work until 7 and responds to everything (Suckerrr! Your inbox is just going to be full in the morning). Ughk, email. It sucks. You can quickly spend so much time fuddling around in your mailbox. If you’re checking email all day, you’re not really living your life-- it’s like you’re waiting for more work. And it’s not necessarily valuable work. It’s random work determined by other people. Inquiries from strangers that you feel obligated to respond to, promotions from brands you don’t care about (definitely not goodr). At the end of the day, threads stacking on threads is a really hard way to stay on top of things.

It is this email loathing that led goodr to transition to the business communication platform Slack.

To be clear, internal email is not allowed at goodr. Granted, email still has a place at goodr. The Story Sellers (aka sales team) are still reaching out to accounts, partnership conversations occur through email, however, we’d guess that less than 20% of our employees actually use email on the reg. We put other systems in place to help reduce this back and forth even further. For example, we also communicate with our retailers through a Facebook group.

goodr had Slack up and running within the company’s first 18 months, before we started hiring employees. It was a cool new thing at first, no giant awakenings at that point. There is a transparency and accountability element when using Slack. Every launch has a channel, anyone can go into those channels and see what is going on. With transparency comes accountability, you can’t hide. If you need info you now have the power to go and seek it on your very own. Empowering, right?

We also use Google Suite. Decks, on decks, on decks. What’s a deck? A deck is a PowerPoint Presentation, or when not in the land of Microsoft, Google Slides. Our decks infuse a level of energy. There is a colorful design and strict formatting guidelines. They look fresh and communicate the info to all. Getting “decked” is a phrase you may hear in the office. Every project has a deck. So when someone asks, “Where is the copy for the PBR launch?” The answer would be, “It’s in the PBR DECK. (Duh.)” We’ve all lost decks before, we’re not militant about this. However, the practice is to not coddle, you gotta find it yourself. Don’t get decked!

If your question is about a project it needs to be asked on the Slack thread. Anybody can ask it, everybody sees it is being asked, any one with the answer can answer it. It strips away knowledge holders. (When we say this we’re picturing bearded wise-old garden gnome looking creatures.) There is very little delay in getting answers to questions. In email there is this fake cordial thing… “Hey Shaun, what’s up…” blah blah blah. “Slack strips the bread off of the communication sandwich,” as Shaun Tinney cleverly states.

Our Slack threads are organized AF. Only three people have access to create threads. That was a bad experiment when it was a free-for-all… Every launch is setup like: #launch_date_name of launch and then they stay stacked in order. At the top of each of these many threads the purpose is listed, along with the corresponding launch deck.

As a whole we have become less focused on putting stuff on our own computers. In a sense we’ve created our own Cloud. Outwardly we function in a similar way. People want everything spoon fed. Sorry folks, if you’re looking for assets, hit up Carl’s Treasure Chest, an epic Dropbox folder we created for retailers, and you betchya when you became a retailer we provided you with the treasure map to find said chest. People are capable of doing the work for themselves and we’re all about giving out the tools so it is as simple as painting by numbers. One way this has played out internally is by creating a Master Deck Theme. Everyone has access to it, and now everyone has the ability to make beautiful decks within brand standards. The future of team collaboration is all about communication, setting expectations and holding people accountable.
When communicating digitally, we talk about not reading tone. Emojis and LOLs always help. You really shouldn’t read tone. There is a responsibility on the reader and the writer. Do everything you can to be clear on your side of it. Stephen feels awkward asking instead of telling… always use please. We need to transition more from speaking diplomatically and speaking directly. This not only leads to saving time, but also getting what you want… We’re all wondering if Shaun got the huckleberry shake he referenced when explaining this concept… That sounds really spectacular right now...

When was the last internal email you sent at goodr? Stephen has no clue, but he can say with confidence that he hasn’t directly emailed anyone in 5 years. When he was breaking people of the habit he would reply back to them, “Is Slack broken?”
What is your favorite internal Slack thread? Our gold stars gratitude thread. The only thing allowed there is giving people gratitude, it’s a joy.

What is your least favorite Slack thread? Giant group DMs. “There are seven people on here, who is talking to who?!”

Most used Slack shortcut? Control shift K, magically opens up DMs.

Magic wand, what would you change about Slack? Stephen wants spaces. For launches you have to do an underscore… ughk. Meanwhile, Shaun hates the one-level indent on lists.

On a scale of 1 to 10, would we ever go back to email? As close to zero as possible. We’re at a 1, but Stephen always allows for possibility.

Slack is fun to use. It’s a super slick operating system from desktop to phone. The user experience is top notch. #notanad “Centralized team messaging, it’s great!” says Shaun with enthusiasm! Our avatars are all pics of us wearing sunglasses, and if your first name is taken you need to come up with a new one. Ashley = Crafty and Emily = Barbs.
If you want to follow a similar path, save time, increase transparency, and bandwidth, pull the plug on email right now.

Moral of the story: Internal email is garbage. Put an end to it by following these next actions:
1. Download Slack.

2. Make a list of all of your projects, launches, and teams.

3. Make a thread for all of them.

4. When someone emails you internally, reply, “Is Slack broken?”

5. If someone DMs you on Slack about something everyone should know, respond, “Please ask this on the project thread.”

6. Do a dance to “Get Down On It” by Kool and the Gang, ‘cuz at this point you’ll be feeling kool with a “k”.

Next week we’ll be covering how we use the Enneagram at goodr!

Tune in Now: Listen to the Episode Here

Get to know the dynamic duo

Meet the hosts

stephen lease

Stephen Lease is the CEO (Chief Executive Octopus) of goodr and the co-host of the CULTURE goodr Podcast. Since Stephen co-founded the company in 2015, goodr has grown to over 140 employees, with award-winning sunglasses sold in more than 5,000 doors worldwide. Stephen’s spirit animal is an octopus, he’s soul-bonded with a basset hound, and he is 16% flamingo.

shaun tinney

Shaun Tinney is the Dean of goodr University (Head of Learning and Development at goodr) and the co-host of the CULTURE goodr podcast. When he’s not helping goodr employees level up their behaviors, he’s writing and performing music. Recently he released his first EP, Living Driven, about the quest for self-reliance, fresh perspective, and creative freedom.

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