One of the greatest factors which can lead to the degradation of quality of information relates to the behavior of users, data administrators and external parties. I have referred to this in a previous post “There is no such thing as a data quality problem…” which was deliberately being a little provocative in order to make a point. In this related post I will explore an interesting contradiction in staff behaviours related to physical assets and behaviours related to information assets.
As some of those who know me will appreciate, a lot of my experience relates to the world of physical asset management and maintenance management, however, some of the points I raise also relate to more general business contexts.
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As a believer in taking the medicine I prescribe I’m always on the look out for opportunities to develop and improve my skills. Hence I recently attended an event at Midlands Excellence where Julian Beaney led a very informative morning discussing the various business efficiency tools in common use.
I admit to being a bit of a cynic about putting all my eggs in one basket when it comes to delivering improvements. I’ve seen too many people try and blind their customers with science by slavishly following a set route rather than remembering what the aim of the task is. Hence I was also very interested to see what other practitioners would say about the various tools.
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Last week I was delivering a training day which focussed on assertiveness for half a day. Out of the 10 delegates for the afternoon only one was male and most of them were in their 20s. The majority of them were confident and mixed easily with the delegates they didn’t know. However, when asked to give a two-minute presentation about themself and their role at work, concentrating on their skills and abilities most of themwere very shy and avoided talking about themselves. One delegate didn’t manage to say anything at all – I’m not that scary really! Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday I was delivering a training course as a refresher to people who regularly organise meetings at a government organisation. As often happens in these situations there were complaints about the poor chairing of meetings, normally by those higher up the organisation.
It never ceases to amaze me how some senior managers forget the importance of all those little things that smooth the way with your team – saying hello in the morning, having a bit of a chat about the weekend, sometimes even fetching the coffees! In this case what was missing was a bit of time spent with the meeting organiser or minute taker and probably some preparation time.
It seems to be accepted in many organisations that by the time you reach a certain level you’ve picked up a range of skills, including how to effectively chair a meeting. As most people experience many times, this is not always the case! You are unusual if you’ve never sat in a meeting and thought “Why am I here? What’s the point of all this? I’ve got better things to do with my time!”
Meetings should be the life blood of an organisation, events where people learn from each other, decisions are made and new ideas aired and developed. But good meetings rely on several good habits – knowing the aims, good control from the chair, ensuring all the information is available and respecting each other. Get it wrong and you end up with frustrated, disillusioned staff and much wasted time and effort. None of this is easy as we’re dealing with that most unpredicatable commodity – the human being! However all is not lost, it’s possible to develop the necessary skills and set up a culture that fosters the required behavoiurs. Take an honest look at the behavours in your organisation and even at yourself and make a committment to improve the situation. Your whole organisation will thank you in the long run.
Do you agree with the generalisation that senior staff often chair meetings badly?
How can we sell the message that they may need to take a different approach to meetings?