The key to Information Management…

…winning the hearts and minds

Getting information management embedded in an organisation’s culture can be pretty hard. It can seem that, no matter what good programs and processes you develop and get signed off by senior management, users just don’t care.

Speaking to the business can be hard, so in this blog we’re going get through to your users through the power of Tolstoy. Trust me, it’ll be fine… probably.

 Planning

‘When starting on a journey… men capable of reflection are generally in a serious frame of mind. At such moments one reviews the past and plans for the future’

First of all we’re going to have to embrace the fact that some people just aren’t going to want to talk to you. Don’t take it personally, I’m sure they’re just busy. If they’re not and still won’t talk to you… well we’ll get to that.

As we all know, everyone loves it when a plan comes together. Everyone feels better if they’ve been a part of something that has worked and made a difference. So looking at what has been going on in the business area you’re engaging with, what problems and issues do they have, and what precedents has this set for poor information management?

If you can demonstrate on a storyboard where the team has been, where they are now, and where they could be, you’re already winning the war because they can see the advantages immediately and help shape the development and delivery of the information management strategy.

British soldiers at dinner in camp, Aldershot, 1889

The Information Managers; home in time for tea and medals (catalogue reference: COPY 1/397)

Ambitions

‘.. but if I want this – want glory, want to be known to men… it is not my fault that I want it and want nothing but that’

You’re probably aware of this already but; not everyone wants to manage information. What they want is fortune and glory or at the very least to make it through the day of answering emails, filling out forms and getting to go home.

By aligning your information management strategy to these objectives at the corporate and business area levels (sometimes the individual but try and avoid that unless you have to) you can provide real examples of how information is worth a fortune in itself and, well managed, it will get the organisation to glory quicker…

…or at least home in time for tea and medals!

Getting the balance right

‘From the sublime to the ridiculous is but one step’* 

Under no circumstances should you allow non-information management tasks to be added to your ‘to do list’! Whilst this is difficult, it’s important to make sure that your scope isn’t expanded into areas that either aren’t your remit, or will only serve as a distraction.

For example, as an information manager you have an interest in any location information is being put in and how to get it out. But you might not want to get embroiled into whether the chosen platform is the right one unless it represents a clear departure from your information strategy or the application poses an actual risk to the information going into it – i.e. no one will get it out again!

Making History

‘Each man lives for himself… and feels with his whole being that he can now do or abstain from doing this or that action; but as soon as he has done it, that action performed at a certain moment in time becomes irrevocable and belongs to history’

Making history and being accountable for it. Not something your average user might consider on a day to day level, but they are. And whilst it’s possibly a little over the top to present it to them like this; in some way you need to communicate the significance of what happens when the right information is kept and why.

If you have an archive, or you deposit records in an archive, now might be a great time to get your organisation understanding what a history they have contained in those records and how valuable it is to them today – that way they’ll have some thought to perpetuating the memory of your organisation.

And that’s it! You, me and Tolstoy have cracked the basics of engaging with your organisation and making information management relevant to them!

*Technically this was Tolstoy quoting Napoleon.

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