As a chief exec, do you ever feel like you're wasting the majority of your time on tasks that add no real value to your company? You're not alone; according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), 80 per cent of the time top management professionals have is tied up in issues that account for less than 20 per cent of the organisation's long-term value.
So, you're time poor – it doesn't take a genius to figure that much out. Though a genius alone would hardly be able to put time back into your calendar, either. In the world where Information Assets might well be your most valuable resources in terms of deriving productivity, managing them is the simple solution to improving these dire statistics.
The difference is a big one, though one that's made up of smaller parts. Improving productivity through information management leads to constant every day changes in how efficiently your company operates, while also making the big decisions easier.
So, imagine your average day. Does it sound a little bit like this? If so, it's time to put information management on the agenda.
A day in the life of a chief executive
You get into work in the morning, take your coat off and start up your computer. So far so good. Then come the emails. Your inbox looks like the instructions of putting together the Large Hadron Collider, and at a glance, it's hard to see what's essential and what's useless marketing.
28 per cent of an exec's time is spent on messaging.
After some time figuring it all out, you send a few emails yourself. You remember reading an article in Inc. Magazine that 28 per cent of an exec's time is spent on messaging like this, and you breathe a sigh as you spend another hour or so responding to people and emailing your own delegates.
You hear a knock on the door, and a member of the accounting team walks in. They run you through the latest chart of accounts – thank goodness you have one. If only they made a similar framework for the data that passes through your company too, you think.
As they leave, your receptionist walks in and reminds you of the upcoming board meeting. The agenda has been emailed to you, they say, and you remember saving it onto your desktop. Some searching later and you find it, sent three days ago – perfect! You print it out and start jotting down notes. After a quick working lunch break, you head to the meeting room.
You take a seat and start looking over your notes on the agenda. The board meeting starts and you realise you can't follow what's going on. "I can't see this on the agenda," you ask, only to be told that a new version was sent this morning. It's then that you recall the email tucked away in your inbox. Looks like you printed off the older version with the same document name.
After organising a printout of the newer agenda, you realise it's a waste of your time – no one has any hard facts and you're deliberating again over the same decisions about what to do in the market. You remember that Inc. article again that said only 12 per cent of top management meetings consistently produce important strategic decisions. It's a good job, really, considering the agenda fiasco.
A few hours later, you speak to some clients, jotting notes down as you go. It will take some time to make a digital copy of these, which is a task you'll reserve for your receptionist, hoping he saves them in the right folder so you can retrieve them later.
An experienced employee at your company is next through the door. They say an ageing piece of machinery is still out of order. You have the human resources and the money to fix it, or you can buy a whole new piece of equipment, though you're not sure the budget will stretch that far. You opt for the first option.
The only issue is, the manuals for that machine were digitised some time ago, and no one can find them on the systems. Looks like your ERM software didn't know how valuable they were.
So, it looks like it could be an expensive fix. You take a seat back at your desk and open up the financial records to check on the budget situation.
It takes a minute to load, and you make a mental reminder to clear some space on the desktop and speed things up a bit. A message pops up: "Restricted document – request access from the author?". With a sigh, you hit "OK".
The day has turned to night, and you wonder where those 9 hours went. At least tomorrow, it all starts again.
The information management difference
Mismanaging information is a business risk, as well as a professional one.
This is just a hypothetically terrible day for a CEO, though it's based on true stories that we've heard or dealt with at Experience Matters. Mismanaging information is a business risk, as well as a professional one, and the difference between productive and unproductive companies is becoming defined by how they use their Information Assets.
So, what's the solution? The first step is to identify how your company uses information, and what it needs to run efficiently every day. With the right processes and governance in place, information can be found quickly by the right people, while being restricted from the wrong ones.
Ultimately, if a chief executive has the means to create a streamlined workplace in terms of how it manages information, the whole organisation can see the benefits – from customers to every day workers and, of course, in the board room, too.
Don't believe us? Check out our free white paper by clicking on the link below, and see the power your information holds.