14 September 2017
"Just to confirm what we spoke about..."
I can’t help but feel a bit sad every time I receive and email that starts like this.
It’s caused by a lack of trust.
I can understand if it’s from someone outside of the company - a third party undertaking a minor one-off job - but someone who you’re partnered in a long-term project with? Someone inside the same company - a colleague? It’s inexcusable and it’s a culture problem.
You had to put it down in writing because you think that I’m going to steal your ideas and get a promotion over you. Or that I’m not going to do the share of the work that was allocated. Or proof that this idea (the one that could potentially make the project fail) was all my idea to begin with.
A top-down approach can’t fix this. We can’t start trusting one another just because someone tells us to (we can hire better, though). Instead, we all have to take the initial step to actually be more trustworthy and trusting.
There's some environments where it's nigh on impossible: companies that use competition between you and your colleagues as motivation, companies that treat you as a number on a spreadsheet, for instance. If this applies to you then consider finding a new job.
Fixing this problem is a grassroots movement, and it starts with you.