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The Best Information Governance Advice Ever

“I try to act as if my mom were watching me.”

The words belong to Eli Romero of World Business Lenders LLC, who was quoted in a Bloomberg Business article about how companies are changing their approach to email in the wake of the Sony hack. But the advice is pertinent to anyone with information governance aspirations – including, perhaps, those who advised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her use of a private vs. government system.

I’ve long advised clients wanting to adopt a better stance toward infogov that “change management equals parenting,” but I hadn’t fully considered that the reverse is also true until I came upon Romero’s comment. And that’s ironic because, as a parent, I’ve also long advised our kids to avoid any behaviors – even if strictly legal – that they wouldn’t want us to witness.

Cultivating this attitude among employees isn’t easy, and it isn’t immediate. But neither is child-rearing, and that’s something we all understand is an ongoing process, not a discrete project.

I’m not suggesting that we send people to their offices without lunch, or take away their company-car driving privileges, if/when they violate a governance rule. But we should take a page from the parenting handbook by striving to be a voice in employees’ heads so they think about what they’re about to do before they actually do it.

Because when you come right down to it, “I shouldn’t, because my boss will be mad” isn’t that far removed from “I can’t, or my mother will kill me!”

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