After Hours Communication. Deming Misquotes

A new series where I share a “Business Playlist” of articles that made me think in the hope that you find them valuable also.

This week: Rules for after-hours communication with employees. Create your own “user manual”. Deming misquotes.


Productivity and Interruptions

Poignant cartoon from Tom Fishburne on the dangers of being “always-on” and feeling compelled to immediately respond to work messages on platforms like Slack and Teams.

I make a point to tell my team that replying instantly to internal emails and messages can signal that you are easily distracted and lack focus. I’d rather they turned off the notifications, focused on their work, and check messages once per hour at most.

I set clear boundaries on after-hours communication. I have an 8 to 6 rule. In my opinion, after-hours is after 6 pm in the evening through to 8 am in the morning during weekdays and all day on the weekends in each person’s time zone. During after-hours, I do not want team members to send nor respond to internal emails or messages. The only exception would be emergency situations, and in these cases, I recommend using a personal phone call or SMS text.

Here’s my guide for how to create a “User Manual” to clarify and communicate your personal expectations and preferred working environment with team members.


W. Edwards Deming: The Legacy He Deserves Is Not The One He’s Usually Given

The quote, “That which cannot be measured cannot be managed” is attributed to Deming, but he never said that.

Deming actually said the opposite. He said, “It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”

In this article Doug Garnett suspects that if Deming were still with us, he would be appalled at how obsessed business management and governmental management have become with metrics. Like his fellow luminary Peter Drucker, Deming is frequently misquoted and we find memes all over the internet, and legions of business powerpoint presentations propagating fallacious quotes in their names.


If Einstein Had The Internet: An Interview With Balaji Srinivasan

I’ve listened to several podcast interviews with Balaji Srinivasan and continue to be amazed at the breadth and depth of his knowledge. He’s a rare individual who truly fits the description of a polymath. His ability to coherently riff on a wide variety of subjects and connect the dots frequently bends my brain. This text-based interview will give you a taste.


“Picking the right direction to go in is way more important than how hard you work” – Naval Ravikant


Until next time…