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December 18, 2007
Way of the Future Will Be no CC'ing. Whatsoever.

CC. That pretty little designation at the top of your emails today means more than just Carbon Copy. It should feel synonymous with Corporate Coverage, as in your ass.

You know you’ve crossed into Corporate Coverage when you receive an email from a coworker asking for details on a project or account; when you respond you CC your boss, your coworkers’ superior, your assistant (if you’re lucky) and the Legal people.

I heard Carl Corporate, another CC whom we know but don’t necessarily always love, talking about how important to play the game of CCing: because Carl inundates the higher-ups with so many emails, each detailing how he has accomplished a task that is part of his job description; eventually H-Us delete the emails without looking at them.

It’s the greatest (nay oldest) game played in corporations and underlies the largest problem we have as a work culture, one that will disappear as email becomes less “the thing”. As email-on-a-diet America becomes reality, we must stop spending time and resources to ensure we are apparently working, cultivating an atmosphere where overt kissing tactics are not only smiled upon but promoted as good job, Beanie.

Essentially, when we pretend to work, no work gets completed because emails go unanswered. And during the day it’s a round robin of folks writing one another nonstop.

Please sigh.

We must stop covering our butts by CCing everyone and anyone. What’s better for the future is: learning how to just fucking speak up.

So here’s what will happen when emailing becomes the dodo bird. We begin to get work done, we find sight of the importance of what we do, we take responsibility for what we’ve done, or haven’t yet, and talk loudly in a gracious, respectable manner when it is sincerely time to take credit for anything. Yes, Virginia, credit is good.

Everyone will go back to working for a singular goal: the mission of a company. If one fails, we all fail and there’s no longer such a thing as taking the fall. No one has to take a single bullets for any team.

Since email is, however, still killing us, there are some tasks to perfect: First, outlaw CC-ing at your firm (thank me later). "Don't send anyone an email they don't need to respond to" is rule. Use a meeting where everyone stands up to update or be updated.

Then you should write a couple of notes to people you work with, the kind you need penmanship for. You’ll get responses never anticipated: appreciation for time you took.

I think I’ve said enough for today.

Read more in the book “2011,” due in late March.

CC you then.

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Richard Laermer is CEO of New York's RLM pr, representing, among others, e-Miles, Epic Advertising, Yodlee, Revolution Money, Group Commerce, Smith & Nephew, and HotChalk. He was host of TLC's cult program Taking Care of Business and speaks on trends and marketing for corporate groups. You can read Laermer on The Huffington Post and on the mischievous but all-too-necessary Bad Pitch Blog. For more like this, follow him on @laermer.

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