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Governance Must Be By the People, For the People

Abraham Lincoln almost had it right when he affirmed in the Gettysburg Address that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Obviously, I’m not talking about history or politics here, for in those contexts, Lincoln’s words may be among the most “right” ever spoken. Rather, I’m speaking about the care and feeding of your organization’s business-critical information, a task otherwise known as governance and the word I’d use instead of “government” in this famous speech to make my point.

The reason is simple: without the buy-in and participation of the people who work in your organization, your infogov initiative will never reach its intended level of success.

Many in your company already “get it” because of the responsibilities they have: records managers, legal counsel, and many IT managers, for example, are among the enlightened because tracking, protecting, and auditing information-related assets are among their core tasks.

But many others simply don’t want to be bothered with such trivialities because, in their words, “I already have a job to do, and tagging and deleting stuff isn’t it.”

The challenge is to turn this attitude around, at least enough to back the outright resistance it engenders down to even only resigned acceptance. And the best way to do this is to use all your available change management tools – from social psychology to gamificaton – to help them see what’s in it for them: faster searches, more accurate data, greater compliance, lowered risk, etc.

At the end of the day, if your people don’t understand that governance really can and does work to their benefit, they’ll find ways around every new policy and procedure you try to put into place. So you’ll be well served by taking a page from Lincoln and presenting it in terms of being “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

It worked once, after all!

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