Observations on attention to contents of email

When something pops up a few times in a short span of time, it might be a trend, it might just  be random fluctuations.  When today,  for the 3rd time this month,  it became obvious that a customer or fabricator was not reading or absorbing simple statements in an email, I started thinking it’s a trend. And there is much anecdotal evidence about a lowered quality of attention to reading and writing in  general plus of course, in commercial construction most everybody is stretched very thin.  My guess is that this is a trend.

The implication for a project manager is that you have to do more verification and follow up; based on observable reality you are less able to assume that the recipient of a simple piece of writing will grasp and act upon what you have written.  Of course, you can follow traditional methods and just let the chips fall where they may and deal with it later. The concern of course, is that most problems end up being owned by the subcontractor no matter what you think is fair or just. Taking this common lack of attention into account might be  good defense, albeit annoying and maybe disheartening.  Maybe the rule should be first phone, and then follow up with an email and do not rely on email alone?

Below is the latest example of this, consisting of an email I wrote and the reply that makes it obvious that my customer did not read the entire (and fairly short) email.    I have removed anything that might identify the customer and added emphasis to the key sentences. =========================================================

On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM, <mxxxxxxr@XYZinc.com> wrote:

Here you go Leo – consider the proposal fully executed.

Have you begun production?



From: Leo Schlosberg [mailto:leo at caryconcrete.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 3:25 PM
To: <mxxxxxxr@XYZinc.com>
Subject: Re: abcde curbs -packaging and proposals


1. Proposal
Revised proposal is attached, but as it’s all unit priced, it should not require any further modifications. Right now I assume no change to target date and that you’ll want 1/2 (95) at a time.

2. Packaging
Good comment about floor loads. If the skids are being broken down immediately on the ground then getting them off the truck governs. But that in turn will depend on someone deciding if you or we unload. I remain of the opinion that the best person for me to be discussing this with is the person who will be there supervising unloading and distribution of the pieces. The one exception to this is if you yourself need to be involved in the dollar decision about unloading (price per truck varies by $300 depending on whether we unload or you unload).

We have started making these and I’d like to get the skid weight issue resolved ASAP so the plant knows how to package the pieces.




About Leo Schlosberg

Graybeard with experience in commercial construction and IT, and an interest in information flow and process. Aware and respectful of the enormous complexity, technical, legal, and other, embedded in every structure that is part of the built environment.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s