Super Power Information Governance Friends!

By Monica Crocker posted 08-03-2012 17:58


The universe is extremely adept at keeping me from being over-confident.  When I put on a particularly sharp outfit, the universe makes sure I spill something on myself.  And when I decide to blog on the topic of teamwork, like I’m some great expert, the universe throws all sorts of teamwork dysfunction in my path.  I’m really glad it’s Friday.

Anyhoooo...I’ve been thinking about teamwork; how my office works with Legal, Facilities Management, Information Systems. etc.  It’s not a coincidence , as I am currently putting together a session for the ARMA conference in Chicago on how to bring together everyone that has a role in “Information Governance.”  That could be a lot of people.  Or it could be you and that one guy that has failed aspirations to be a supervillain.  Totally depends on your organization.

So, what does an Information Governance team look like and how do you put one together?  It could be comprised of any/all of the following roles (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Physical Security
  • Information Security
  • Litigation
  • Data Privacy
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Project Management Office (enterprise or IT)
  • Compliance Officer
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Risk Management
  • General Counsel
  • Facilities Management
  • Internal Audit
  • Knowledge Management
  • Taxonomist/Enterprise Data Architect

By nature, Information Governance is an inter-disciplinary approach.  The great thing about inter-disciplinary approaches is that they can address issues that are beyond the scope of any given discipline, like Information Governance.  The challenges are both logistical and psychological.  There is the obvious hassle of getting time and input from all those people who already have full time jobs.  Then, apparently, highly skilled professionals have a tradition of “boundary” around their area of expertise.  If I had any idea how to overcome that barrier, I’d be polishing my Nobel Prize right now.  Just knowing it’s there helps you identify some of that weird territorial behavior for what it is.

But I do have some strategies I can share.  First, of course, figure out who you need on your team.  Then, meet with them one on one, even if it’s just a “drive by” conversation in the lunch room or a “drop by” their office.  Keep it low key and casual to start.  You don’t want to spook your prey.  Then, start making references to and connections between the team members.  Let them figure out for themselves that there are others that can help them achieve their objectives and that you might be the conduit to those people.  Then define the shared objective(s) for the team.  Once you can articulate that in an “elevator speech,” you can start putting people in a room together to work on specific initiatives. 

Some tactical suggestions when working with an informal coalition of experts…you must actively manage the relationship.  Make an excuse to talk to each member of the team on a regular basis, even if you don’t have any tasks for them.  Just let them know what’s going on and keep them engaged. 

Now, you need to take full ownership of creating a working environment for this group based on trust that facilitates teamwork.  There are volumes of literature on that topic, but from a purely practical level, specific behaviors I’ve seen that create that help are:

  • Remind the group of its shared objective(s) on a regular basis.
  • Follow through on every commitment you make to the group.
  • Help each member successfully follow through on their commitments to the group.
  • Recognize the individual contributions each member makes to the success of the group (except you….you better limber up those shoulder muscles so you can pat yourself on the back as you drive home).
  • Respond to any request from a group member with “Here’s what I can do” and never with “I can’t….” 
  • Create an atmosphere where every member is comfortable providing input,  unafraid of criticism or judgment from the others.  Sometimes that means you have to rephrase their input in a way that others perceive has value. Practice responses like: "So, what you're saying is, a casual user of information will have a challenge understanding X" as a way of covering for the fact that they didn't understand it themselves. 
  • Get a sponsor (or more than one) that says the work this group is doing is critical and the group process is critical to success.
  • Keep trying.  If one approach doesn’t work, try another. 

When it gets frustrating, remember the poignant Spock/Kirk interchange: It is logical. The needs of the many  outweigh...the needs of the few.  Or the one.

#Spock #InformationGovernance #information governance #ElectronicRecordsManagement #teamwork