Creating a RIM Culture of Adaptability

By Jeffrey Lewis posted 07-12-2013 21:31



Today’s records manager needs to view the world through the perspective of an entrepreneur.  One of the best books that I have read on records management is actually not a records management book, but about Silicon Valley and applying the principles of a start-up to your career so that you can adapt to the changing job market.  Records management is changing and evolving which is why I view these concepts as ones that also correspond to information governance as we must be able to adapt our functions to a world that is going from paper to digital.  The book I am referring to is “The Start-up of Youby Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. It is inevitable that as the information landscape is changing, so must our playbook.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and how I believe they relate to RIM and Information Governance

The moment you begin to take success for granted is the moment a competitor lunges for the jugular...permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous growth.

As records manager who are familiar with paper records we cannot take our success with managing paper for granted.  With the rise of the need to manage social media records, email and other forms of electronically stored information we need to commit to continuous growth.  Someone who realizes that they are in permanent beta will not only eagerly pursue certifications like the Certified Information Professional and Certified Records Manager but they will also budget time for things like webinars, blogs and other sources of information management material.

Each week I fly Jet Blue and talk to customers so I can find out how we can improve our airline - David Neelman (CEO of Jet Blue).

One of the purposes of information governance is to get a return on investment of information. The only way to know what that return on investment is is to know how your users are using information and how it meets their needs. For example, a taxonomy is not built once and then never reexamined, but the requirements of our users and information flows need to revisited and revised as necessary.  With the consumerization of IT information might be created and stored in formats never used before so it is important to know how the BYOD policy is meeting their needs and ensuring they are not bypassing security policies by using public cloud sources for collaboration.  These are realities that we need to be able to adapt to.

Most companies don't execute a single brilliant master plan. They go through stops and starts, a couple near death experiences, and a great deal of adaptation...It is better to be in front of a big change than to be behind it.

In information governance there is no single brilliant master plan because there is no single source of records and information.  We need to be able to get out in front of change because our users already are.  Before change comes to the enterprise it is in the consumer market place and users want to bring those consumer tools to the enterprise to enhance efficiency. There will be stops and starts as we adjust to auto-categorization, mobile capture and other emerging technologies. To best prepare for these we need to expand our network and make allies with those in IT, networking, marketing and other areas. As information governance workers we should brim with curiosity about the new technologies that are out there and how it can revolutionize the way information is used.  The authors state, "Entrepreneurs brim with curiosity: they opportunity where others see problems, because while others simply complain, entrepreneurs ask why."

Related to that idea is being willing to take risk in terms of implementing new technology that not everyone is implementing.  Marketing and other business users will want to use text messaging, social media and other tools that leverage information for a competitive advantage so we have to be prepared to manage that information to reduce risk of indictment.  When we are in a risky situation and working in an area we haven't before then we need an attitude of resilience.  The authors in the book state:

Pretending you can avoid risk causes you to miss opportunity that can change your life..the only long-term answer to risk is resilience. Remember: if you don't find risk, risk will find you.

In closing here are several quotes from the book that I believe should be on every information governance workers wall.

The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your compeition, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd, is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose. - Bill Gates

The knowlege you need is not static. - It's always changing.

What will get you somewhere is being able to access the information you need, when you need it.


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