It all started when I received an email that I didn’t understand. It was addressed to the “team”, and I figured it was meant for me, as I get quite a few emails that are addressed to, and begin with, “team”.
As it turns out, it was another team far across the country and they had inadvertently copied me on their email. Actually, they had inadvertently copied an entire GROUP on the email. More than 500 people got this email. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it was an email between two salespeople arguing over commissions and territories.
Now everyone has made this same mistake- accidentally sending an email to someone who should not be receiving it. Sometime it’s not a big deal; other times you want to crawl inside a hole and die because you’ve embarrassed yourself/brought shame on your family/endangered the world.
So the emails start flying back and forth between the sender and the recipient, and of course this entire group of engineers. There must be about six email exchanges back and forth before one of the 500 engineers finally responds to ALL and says he doesn’t think he should be included on this email stream. He mentions only himself, and not the group.
It doesn’t matter though. The emails continue to fly, and other people in the engineering group begin responding by asking the original sender to remove them from the email stream. Again, no one mentions that the email is accidentally going to an entire GROUP.
Then at least three idiot engineers email the entire group to tell them to stop emailing the entire group, which in turn causes several more engineers to respond by saying “you realize that by emailing the group and asking them to stop emailing the group you are actually emailing the group more, and adding to the problem”.
Oh my God! Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Apparently not.
Meanwhile, the two original salespeople are completely oblivious. Are they not reading all of these responses from total strangers? Have they looked at the “TO” line to see who’s receiving the emails?
They just keep arguing via email and copying the entire group.
This went on for almost two days. If either one of these blockheads had simply picked up the phone and talked to the other, they probably would have resolved their issue, or at least been on the road to working it out within an hour.
Instead, 500+ people know their business, and considering the tone of the emails, think they’re complete losers.
Right about now, you might be asking, well Steve, why didn’t you say something?
To which I would respond, “Why would I pass up great material for a blog?”
No, actually, a few years back I did respond to one of these types of situations. I emailed the sender and told her she had just copied an entire group of strangers. I had hoped she would appreciate it, send out a quick apology, and correct the email. Nope. Her response was, “Then just delete my email.”
From then on, I just sat in the bleachers and enjoyed the freak show.
Here endeth the lesson.