Date of publication: November, 1999

"My correspondence with an autoresponder"

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Why Change Doesn't Work:
Why Initiatives Go Wrong and How to Try Again and Succeed
Harvey Robbins, Michael Finley
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A Master of the Wired World?

I just got my author's copies of a new book from Financial Times Management (London), MASTERS OF THE WIRED WORLD: Cyberspace Speaks Out.

What's remarkable is that this collection of manifestos about the new age a'dawning contains proclamations by Tony Blair, Al Gore, Charles Handy, Nicholas Negroponte, Arthur C. Clarke, Alvin Toffler ... and me.

Anne C. Leer, editor

To order, click here. Discounted price is $18.87 from Amazon.


I recently sent a letter-to-the-editor of a major online publication. In reply I got this e-message:

Thank you for taking the time to contact USA ONLINE. On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like to thank you for your thoughtful letter. It is important to us that readers like yourself engage in this dialogue with us.

If your letter is one of those selected for publication, congratulations. But competition for space is keen. If no one from USA Online has called you within two weeks, it is probable that your letter was not selected. Don't give up; try again!

Ellen Arbogast, Editor, USA Online.

This was terrific news. My letter wasn't flat out guaranteed of publication, but plainly I had Ellen Arbogast herself in my corner and on my side. You know what they say: "It's not what you know, it's who you know." (I always wanted to change that to whom, but I never knew who to suggest it to.)

Anyway, I felt pretty connected, for a change, so I did write back.

Dear Ellen Arbogast, thanks so much for the nice note! Some publications just answer with a form letter. But yours was so courteous and warm. I did, as you noted, put a lot of myself into that letter. But I feel like you are really giving it careful consideration. What more can any writer ask? Rest assured, I will never give up, not with persons of your caliber and goodwill cheering me on. Yours sincerely, etc., Michael Finley.

And I got this response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact USA ONLINE. On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like to thank you for the letter to the editor you submitted. We value you etc.

So I answered:

You responded with the same exact letter to two different letters I sent you. At first I'm thinking, What are the odds of that? Then I'm like, maybe these are just form letters, you know?

So I reread the letter, and my heart sank. You probably tell everyone their letter is thoughtful, and that their opinion is important to you. I am so embarrassed. I really felt you were reaching out to me.

I am just writing to let you know I do not expect any special favors from you regarding my letter. Read it, evaluate it, and lay it on the line. Then tell me straight out. I'm a big boy. Sincerely, etc., Michael Finley

And this is what I got in reply:

Thank you for taking the time to contact USA ONLINE. On behalf of the Editorial Board, I would like etc

I fired back with:

Dear Ellen Arbogast, I'm not a fancy editor. I don't enjoy the respect of millions. But I do know a bit about simple manners and decency. And when I lay my heart out like I did, the last thing I expected from you, and from USA ONLINE, was a flippant reply.

Is business so slow, are you and your staff so idle, that you have nothing better to do than toy with an honest correspondent's emotions?

I'm shocked and disappointed, and unless I get word from you by return mail that you intend to use my letter, I intend to very seriously consider canceling my subscription! Sincerely etc.

Thank you for taking the time to contact USA ONLINE. Et cetera.

I was stunned. Quaking with rage, I composed the final message:

Dear Ms. Arbogast. I am sorry that our communications could not proceed along more civilized lines. I believe that I offered my part sincerely and without reservation. You, for your part, saw fit to reply with a teasing, wheedling tone.

All I can say is that I am happy that you live and work in New York, where there are lots and lots of psychiatrists and you can pick one that has special knowledge and experience with the kind of anger syndrome your behavior evidences.

What makes this especially poignant for me is that I felt, from your first letter, that we might be friends.

Please let me know if this means my letter will definitely not be published. Sincerely, etc.... Michael Finley

 

 

 

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
Get your signed copy of
The NEW Why Teams Don't Work
by Mike & Harvey Robbins
from Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Just click on the book cover!
A fully revised second edition of this award-winning classic
by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley
Paperback

Winner, Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award, Best Management Book - The Americas, 1995


Table of contents and sample chapters of this book...


Just click on the book cover to order your signed copy for only $12.95.
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
Table of contents and sample chapters of this book...
Why Change Doesn't Work:
Why Initiatives Go Wrong and How to Try Again and Succeed
Harvey Robbins, Michael Finley
Hardcover
Just click on the book cover to order your signed copy for only $12.95.
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
"This is the first treatise on change we've seen that is actually entertaining. The authors cover human and organizational barriers to change and change theories, and then take a tour of management theory that's guaranteed to upset every reader at one point or another." -- HR ONLINE

Table of contents and sample chapters of this book...

Why not bookmark Mike's columns for your weekly enjoyment?

Stimulate the economy, give a poet a dollar.

I enjoyed serving this essay up for you, and I did it for free. But this writer is currently out of work, and a bit of revenue would gladden his heart. If you'd like to contribute to this site, consider dropping a $1 tip in the "Honor Box" here. Just click the CLICK TO PAY image here. Thanks - Mike
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America's Best-Loved Futurist(TM), Michael Finley has a free gift for visitors to http://mfinley.com.


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Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
Get your signed copy of
The NEW Why Teams Don't Work
by Mike & Harvey Robbins
from Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Just click on the book cover!

Click Here!

Stimulate the economy, give a poet a dollar.

I enjoyed serving this essay up for you, and I did it for free. But I am a few clients lighter right now than I need to be, and a bit of revenue never hurts. If you'd like to contribute to this site, consider dropping a $1 tip in the "Honor Box" here. Think of it as a voluntary subscription. Just click the CLICK TO PAY image here. Thanks! - Mike Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

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