The information revolution

Jenni Field

For years we have operated under industrial rules. As times changed we introduced practices and processes to manage production and industry and now we are changing again. As the era of information takes hold, what do communicators need to know or do to adapt?

Knowledge is no longer power
Be known for the knowledge you share not the knowledge you have. Stephen Covey talks about competition and the fact that competitive businesses will never be collaborative in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If we are compared and competing against each other how can we collaborate?

“One time I was asked to work with a company whose president was concerned about the lack of cooperation among his people….”There is no reward for not cooperating” he assured me. “The rewards are much greater if they do cooperate.” “Are they?” I asked. Behind a curtain on one wall of this man’s office was a chart. On the chart were a number of race horses all lined up on a track. Superimposed on the face of each horse was the face of one of his managers. At the end of the track was a beautiful travel poster of Bermuda, an idyllic picture of blue skies and fleecy clouds and a romantic couple walking hand in hand down a white sandy beach. Once a week, this man would bring all his people into this office and talk cooperation. “Let’s all work together. We’ll all make more money if we do,” Then he would pull the curtain and show them the chart “Now which one of you is going to win the trip to Bermuda?” He wanted his people to work together, to share ideas, to all benefit from the effort. But he was setting them up in competition with each other. One manager’s success meant failure for other managers.”  Taken from Stephen Covey, 7 habits of highly effective people.

Team or community?
We operate in geographically dispersed locations so how can we be a team? A question I often hear inside and outside my organisation. The answer, you are a community. A community work together for the greater good, we can do that and work together.

Trust the all-knowing…
Is a thing of the past. Trust has to be given in order to gain trust and knowledge does not make you trustworthy. Being interested in someone else’s specialism and sharing ideas is now where trust comes from… The desire to share and learn.

As society begins to change and run on information rather than processes, business need to change and communicators need to be at the forefront of that movement….

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