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A new report says that middle managers are swamped by useless information and spend about a two hours a day looking for the data they need. And often, once they obtain the data, half of it has no value to their jobs. Part of the problem is companies keep information in departmental silos. But since eighty-four percent of middle managers collect and store information on their own hard drives or in e-mail accounts, and fail to share data that might be relevant to others, they’re also part of the problem. Companies should develop clear rules and processes about how and when information is shared and consider using technology like SOA and Wikis to centralize information. Stop drowning and start building a raft.
The post above is very apropos for this subject. So much of the valuable content in an organization is hidden from useful view. How do we set up an environment that allows the content to be available to the people who need it when they need it? Well, there are two main layers to this.
The first layer that most people think of is the process layer. We need to establish an easy and effective way for people to post what they know. Blogs are an open format way to do this. In organizations where there needs to be more control, maybe adding entries to a workflow enabled list is the better way to go so that the content can be vetted and validated.
The second layer is the one that is too often forgotten: the incentive layer. I can design a perfect process, but if no one wants to participate, then what is the point? Not only do you have to identify what will motivate people to share what they know (and, yes, the levers are different for different groups: sometimes it’s financial incentives, sometimes it’s recognition, sometimes it’s something else), but senior folks need to lead by demonstrating the desired behaviors. The incentives need to become part of the organization’s DNA.
Once the two layers are in place and the engine is humming along, mighty good things can happen, certainly better things than drowning in data.