In the early days of email my manager referred to it as BATS by which he meant Blame Allocation and Transfer System.
When he first used the phrase I wasn’t sure what he meant but over the years I have had many reasons to refer to email as BATS.
Anyone who has been involved in email for any period of time has seen the situation where someone sends an email to a whole host of recipients for the sole purpose of CYA (Cover Your Ass).
In later discussion on the subject the sender says – “well I sent you an email about it”. The sending of the email is regarded as the ultimate seal of the transaction. This is often done without discussion or agreement, lack of decent it regarded as agreement.
This behaviour drives a culture where people are petrified of getting behind on email just in case someone has sent a BATS that they didn’t notice and now find themselves responsible for. This, in turn, leads to a culture where people find themselves attached to email 24 by 7.
Poor behaviour is driving poor culture which is driving poor behaviour. It’s about time we kicked the BATS habit because it isn’t doing any of us any good.
Perhaps it’s time to go without email completely – some people already have (almost)?