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Quiet On The Set!

Having watched the Academy Awards on Sunday evening, I find myself in something of a movie mindset and struggling to resist the temptation to build cheap and obvious puns around the Oscar-winning titles. One Hollywood phrase keeps spinning in my mind, though, and it is pushing ever further to the forefront as the hype continues to spiral in such hot button arenas as mobility and social media.

That phrase? “Quiet on the set!”

If my years as a consultant and instructor in information management have taught me anything, it’s that it is all too easy to lose track of the reasons for pursuing content and process management in the first place. And today, there is so much noise in the market about important new developments like the use of smart phones and tablets as access and participation mechanisms, and the need to amend and extend governance policies to cover the likes of tweets and blogs, that I am all too often seeing instances where it’s the wrong end of the dog doing the wagging.

Are these issues important? Absolutely they are. But they are not the reasons to pursue an information management strategy; rather, they should be the byproducts of such a thing.

It’s a mistake to enable your repositories to support access from mobile devices simply because the technology has gotten to the point where this is feasible. And it’s a mistake to develop rules for social media use just because someone posted something the boss didn’t like on Facebook.

Instead, think about who needs access to your organization’s information, under what circumstances, and from what locations. If the need for mobile support is there, then by all means, figure out how best to do it. Similarly, think about the role social media can and should play in your organization’s daily activities, what you are comfortable with being posted, and who should be permitted to do the posting. Then, and only then, craft and promulgate your policies.

It is rarely a good idea to embark upon any kind of management path as a knee-jerk reaction to something going on in the market or your company. But it can be hard to filter out all the noise surrounding the latest trends and technologies, and even the most well-intentioned information professionals can get caught up in the cacophony.

So do yourself a favor:

(Deep breath, here we go) When things get Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, turn to The Help in the form of associations like AIIM and ARMA, and resources like me for education and advice. Whether your people are Beginners or experienced Warriors, you likely will have to fight like a War Horse to keep the focus where it belongs: on the planting of a Tree of Life so your organizational Descendents can reap the benefits of all your hard work, and you can go spend Midnight in Paris.

Looking for The Artist to help you be an organizational Award-winner? Give me a shout at steve@hollygroup.com or 617-383-4655 today!

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