Category Archives: Avoiding Losing Crucial Information at Work

INFORMATION DRAIN IN THE WORKPLACE, AND HOW TO CUT DOWN ON IT

Use a worksheet to remember phone conversations
Photo: zcool.com.cn

Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius. — An Wang

It’s just plain old common sense that to have a well-run, successful business, a primary rule must be that everyone within the organization understands that it is crucially important that colleagues keep one another properly informed about anything new or any changes and updates, each and every business day.

Everyone agrees that this is so in theory, but in practice, things often go awry.

You know how it goes, you answer the phone, agree to certain actions, mean to write down what was discussed, but before you can actually do it, the phone rings again, and again, and again. Every time, you mean to write down the particulars of the conversation, but things are moving fast and the day is already careening toward lunchtime.

Now your thoughts are more occupied with the debate you’re having with yourself over whether to give in to that urge for a double cheeseburger and fries for lunch or choose the more virtuous salad option, with dressing on the side (to underscore your self-restraint, in case anyone is looking).

Before you know it, valuable information, you should have shared with your colleagues, is either temporarily or permanently lost.

This can cause you to accidentally appear:

  • Secretive
  • Obstructionist
  • Inconsiderate
  • Incompetent

Just to name a few, undesirable outcomes.

Worse, for the organization this can cause:

  • A lack of timeliness and consistency in business dealings
  • Disconnects between key people within and without the organization
  • Hurt feelings
  • A breakdown in morale within the company
  • A loss of credibility (especially if the public winds up getting different stories and/or promises from different people within the organization)

A Strategy for Dealing With Information Drain

A good strategy for dealing with information drain is to create and maintain a Call Worksheet that includes the following elements:

Date/Time

Name

Company

Contact Information

Relationship (to your business i.e., vendor, customer, etc.)

Request/Question/Task

Action Required

Action Taken/Decision Made

Filling in such a worksheet while the conversation is still in progress has several benefits. It allows the information to be shared with others in a timely fashion, refreshes one’s memory later on, and keeps things running on track far better than without it.

Is this a cure-all for information drain? No, of course not, but it sure does cut down on unnecessary, and unintended consequences.

Please share your thoughts on keeping the flow of information in organizations running smoothly, in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature