My Company Cut Down on Emails by 30 Percent With This Simple Hack As we grew, communication via email, video calls, Slack and IM became overwhelming, and I knew we needed a new model for information sharing.

By Pini Yakuel

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Luis Alvarez | Getty Images

As any leader of a growing company can attest, it gets exponentially more difficult to share knowledge as you add new people, open new offices and introduce new team structures. I've experienced this as the founder and CEO of a company that grew from a two-person team in Tel Aviv to a 200-person operation with offices on three continents.

Related: How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

When I left Israel in 2016 to open our first U.S. office, I made every attempt to connect our teams virtually. But, as we continued to grow, the communication via email, video calls, Slack and IM became overwhelming. I knew we needed a new model for information sharing that wouldn't simply increase the volume of chatter. So I devised a system that would encourage us to curate our updates, connect with our colleagues and regularly reflect on our work: the O5.

Here's how it works: Everyone at the company curates five significant points from the past week -- achievements, disappointments, worries, goals -- and publishes it via Trello, an online project management tool. Each person posts his or her weekly updates to an individual card within a team "board." It looks something like this:

Related: Get it Done: 35 Habits of the Most Productive People (Infographic)

After a year of O5 updates, we've shifted the focus of our team meetings from status updates to strategic discussions and cut down emails by about 30 percent. The habit of reflection and team sharing has boosted morale while increasing transparency. Here's my advice for successfully rolling out a system like this.

Get buy-in from the top.

Company-wide practices are generally successful when they have an executive sponsor and change trickles down from the top. I started with a minimum viable product -- a shared Trello board and rough guidelines -- and introduced it to our senior management team. Once we'd all contributed consistently for a few weeks, I asked the head of a small department to try it out with his team. From there, we gradually introduced O5 to the entire company.

Now that we have a critical mass, I still make a point to regularly read and acknowledge the team's O5 updates and talk about the value of the practice in all-hands meetings. I encourage managers to regularly reference and comment on their direct reports' updates, offering encouragement and feedback.

Related: Match the Right Communication Type to the Occasion

Go beyond status updates -- encourage real reflection.

The benefits of reflection are well-documented; one study, for instance, found that employees who regularly reflect on their experiences tend to outperform their peers by an average of 23 percent. Writing every week helps you identify trends and areas for self-improvement, hold yourself accountable to goals, observe the evolution of your role and share your unique perspective with your colleagues.

Guide your team to share more than facts and accomplishments. What's going wrong and why? What's disappointing or anxiety-inducing? Lead by example; being vulnerable encourages people to reach out about similar issues they're experiencing and to feel comfortable sharing their authentic experiences.

Related: As a Boss, There's Much More to Digital Communications With Your Team Than Using the Right Emoji

Add your own flair.

We established the rule that anything goes as long as you're honest with yourself and your peers. This flexibility has allowed O5 to become a tool for employees to share their personalities and get to know each other. For example, Noy, our Android developer lead, posts a haiku every week that describes how he's feeling. Dima, a senior QA engineer, is a great photographer who regularly posts photos from his travels throughout Israel. Everyone is encouraged to bring their style to their O5.

After a year of O5, I've found the system makes me a better manager and CEO. I think about it as a form of therapy in addition to information-sharing: I can reflect on my progress as a leader and share those experiences with my team. Just as importantly, I feel better prepared for one-on-one conversations because I know what individuals are working on and where they're facing challenges.

Today we have 12 O5 boards, some with upwards of 50 members and others with as few as five. There are a million productivity and time-management tips out there, but they all boil down to the same problem: We don't stop to think. O5 has become a tool for doing just that.

Wavy Line
Pini Yakuel

CEO and Founder of Optimove

Pini Yakuel is founder and CEO of Optimove. Hundreds of brands use his company’s software and services to orchestrate and automate highly-effective personalized CRM.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics

Business News

More Americans Are Retiring Abroad, Without a Massive Nest Egg — Here's How They Made the Leap

About 450,000 people received their social security benefits outside the U.S. at the end of 2021, up from 307,000 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration.

Business News

Woman Ties the Knot at White Castle Almost 30 Years After the Chain Gave Her Free Food as a Homeless Teen

Jamie West was just 12 years old when she ran away from the foster care system.

Business News

Lululemon Employees Say They Were Fired for Trying to Stop Shoplifters

Two Georgia women say Lululemon fired them without severance for trying to get thieves out of the store.

Business News

'The Mattresses Are As Thick as The Width of a Hand.' And 5 Other Things to Know About Elizabeth Holmes' Prison.

Inside the walls of Federal Prison Camp Bryan, Texas, where the fallen Silicon Valley star is serving an 11-year sentence.

Business News

New York Lawyer Uses ChatGPT to Create Legal Brief, Cites 6 'Bogus' Cases: 'The Court Is Presented With an Unprecedented Circumstance'

The lawyer, who has 30 years of experience, said it was the first time he used the tool for "research" and was "unaware of the possibility that its content could be false."