I fondly remember the first time I went on the Tower of Terror ride at Disney, holding on for dear life and screaming at every floor. I wondered recently how many times I would have to go on the ride, before eventually the terror would pass? In my personal life I have felt terror a few times; losing my son on a busy beach in Florida was the worst, and a more common one later in life is that realisation you have lost your mobile phone. I hate that feeling of panic and indecision, of being helpless and not knowing what to do. I’m sure that the feeling of terror wouldn’t pass no matter how many times you lost your phone – instead we change our behaviour and organise ourselves so that it will never happen again.
I find it fascinating that so many of us go to work most days and experience that feeling of being lost. We can recollect those feelings of terror and panic when we needed a critical piece of information. Just like losing your phone we searched relentlessly looking in the strangest of places. Not only do we panic, overturning everything in our way, but we call upon bystanders and friends to immediately stop what they are doing and join us in our quest. From time to time we still see genuine moments of terror at work – that same feeling of panic and indecision, of being helpless and not knowing what to do. In the Corporate Tower of Terror we see this on the executive floor every time seasoned board members desperately search for information they need for their board packs. We see it on the customer services floor when the largest client complains to the Chief Executive about the service it has received. We see teams of accountants and analysts burning the midnight oil on the finance floor during year end audit as they try and piece together revenue and costs from the year before, and we see it on the HR floor when managers prepare to face a difficult disciplinary appeal from a disgruntled former employee.
What seems crazy to me as an EIM enthusiast, is how de-sensitised and numb the majority of us have become to the terror of not being able to find that critical information that we need. How we have become accepting of this Ground Hog Day, where every day, plays out just like the last one, but no one seems to notice! As Mark Twain noted, terror is only a driver of change, when it doesn’t last. When you get used to terror, emotions get dulled. It’s time to confront this numbed terror and inexplicable status quo – let’s not take comfort from each other that it’s not our fault and there’s nothing we can do to affect change.
One of the most life changing everyday technologies over the past 10 years has been satellite navigation. How on earth did we cope before? How nice does it feel knowing that we will never get lost again as long as we have our trusty sat nav in the glove compartment? That feeling of being lost has all but disappeared. Just imagine if we asked a driver to go to a new location, and armed them with a list of the world’s maps, a GPS locator, images of motorway junctions, lists of shops, petrol stations & places of interest, and speed limits of every road. Not only would it be useless, it would most likely distract them from getting there at all. Connect this data and content together, then provide an intuitive and simple user experience, and hey presto you have valuable information, amazing utility and something that makes what you are trying to do EASY!
We must move the hunt for information at work, from the current automatic response mechanism of numbed terror to a positive state that allows us to make things better. It’s time we changed our behaviour and organised the information in the enterprise, so we can start the journey of connecting people to the information they need to do their jobs, providing them an intuitive and enjoyable experience. Let’s learn from what we do naturally at home and stop us from ever feeling lost again at work.
Because information is a strategic imperative.
Topics: Information Management