Every now and then you get smacked in the face with the reality stick and reminded of the fact that when it comes to contributing to an effort, most people are asking the title question. I’m not sure which recent even has me thinking about this, nor does it matter, but I am sure that when you’re the one looking for support, you have to be able to answer that question. Let’s face it; some people would be willing to give money to Girl Scouts, but not nearly as many as who are willing to buy a few boxes of Thin Mints. Unfortunately, I don’t have a budget for cookies.
So if I can’t bribe people to contribute their time and documents to our information management effort, what am I offering them? Of course, I realize that there’s the benefit of knowing that you’ve done the right thing and have helped preserve the institutional knowledge that is necessary for the effective operation of this company going forward…you can stop laughing now. This year, I am trying to have them tie this effort to their compensation. Since we are entering that period of reviewing goals, appraising performance and creating future goals, it seems like a good time to remind the other managers to encourage their staff members to commit to the success of these projects.
I have never been all that successful in getting people to adopt information projects into their personal goals, but I feel like this year might be different. I think the time has come for information management to become accepted as a corporate goal, along with market penetration, profitability and product development. I have watched for years as other initiatives have spilled across department lines, and I think it’s our turn. Why? What makes this year different than years past? Well, let me steal the three topics from the AIIM Conference tag line:
Volume – Everybody is dealing with more data, more email, more documents and more requests for information than they ever have before. You don’t have to ask people if they are struggling with the volume of information, you can rest assured that they are. I recently observed a collective shiver among meeting attendees as I talked about over 75,000 documents in one particular shared folder structure that needs to be dealt with this year. That’s the number of documents that are there today. People know that that pile will continue to grow and that scares them.
Variety – I’m not sure I understand the AIIM Party line on this topic, but I know how I think about it. I can point to three different requests in the last month, for information about an aspect of our business that nobody had ever considered asking before. The good news is that we were able to answer all three questions. The scary news is that it wasn’t immediately clear how we were going to get those answers. Those answers required that we pull people across departmental lines, as well as data from systems that were designed for other purposes. People, reports, data and activity are crossing lines more often, being combined in more ways and supporting decisions previously left to people who were shooting from their collective hips.
Devices – We all know that we are surrounded by new and more numerous devices and that these devices are connected to the Internet. What people are just beginning to understand is that these devices will/have become part of our business process, part of our delivery mechanism and as big a part of our corporate culture as every technology that preceded them. Devices bring with them a host of benefits, opportunities and risks, and those are just beginning to be discussed during the conversation about information.
Information is the topic. People may not know that yet, but underlying these three issues is the need to gather, process, analyze, distribute and protect information. We have always been involved with information, now we need to elevate the status of information in our workplace. If you’re in the same boat I am in, don’t ignore the opportunity to gain importance through corporate goals. Information goals are clean, easy to support and easy to measure, just the kind of thing most managers like. I am encouraged, I have just received the first response to my email and one of my peers wants to talk about the goals for her department. That’s a good sign.#Motivation #Devices #AIIMConference #AIIM #Adoption