Information is the New Currency
Information is the currency we trade with in our business as we grow and innovate.
It helps us anticipate trends within our industry, it makes us aware of what our competitors are doing, and it triggers new ideas. It determines directions we will take and reminds us of what we need to know more about.
We all gather information informally through conversations, casual encounters, networking, reading, and observing. Other times we seek it deliberately through research and targeted questions.
But how do we ensure that the information we gather is worthy of our efforts? And do we need all the information we gather in this age of information?
As the new millennium dawned, Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak’s new book Working Knowledge: How organizations manage what they know was published by Harvard Business School Press. It offered remarkable insight into what makes information so valuable to us, and how businesses needed to stay attuned to the information they receive if they are to survive in the digital age.
Davenport and Prusak reminded us that all businesses generate and use knowledge, and all business actions are taken based on the firm’s knowledge, experiences, values and rules.
Knowledge in today’s business climate starts with the information we collect. You absorb information, then you turn it into knowledge. Finally, to complete this cycle, you take action based on the information you take in based on it in combination with your experiences, values and method of doing business.
Gathering information is not a start and finish task for your business. You cannot do a lot of research at the start-up phase of your company and then forget about absorbing new information. It is an ongoing process, day-by-day, and even minute-by-minute.
How do you weigh the value of the information you gather?
There are three measurements for value in information.
The first is whether or not it is accurate. It is tough to determine that. Even analytics from trusted sources and statistics from your own accountant can be skewered to show a more favorable or more disagreeable picture than true reality reflects. What you can determine from accurate information repeatedly taken from the same supposedly reliable source is trends.
For example, if you recently purchased a new weight scale and on the first day you weighed yourself, you thought it was a little off because you weighed more than you thought, you have received information (the amount of your weight on that scale on that day) but you aren’t entirely sure it is accurate.
But if you weigh yourself daily on that same machine, you will see whether your weight goes up or down from that original number, and that will be an accurate indicator of a trend.
Next you have to look at the timeliness of the information you gather. Does it reflect what happened today, this week, this year, or three years ago? Information that is as close to the moment of time as you are in is the most valuable.
The third component of business information’s value is its relevance. Does the information you have just received apply to any of the business options you are currently consider or might want to consider in the future? Information that has no relevance to you is just mental clutter; get rid of it.
There is one final think to consider about information and that is how well you and your business have set up a system to access it when you need it. You can have excellent, valuable information, but if you can’t find it, if there is no system of organization for it, and no way for it to be quickly given to those who need it, you might just as well not have it at all.
Set up a culture of information within your organization, and with it a system for information access. It could be as simple as an alphabetical filing system either with paper on in Cloud storage, but find a way to ensure that it can be found. Build a knowledge corner within your office or company where crucial reports for your company can be readily accessed by all who need them.
If information has value to you, keep it in an easy to access information bank.
Otherwise, you will be making decisions based on vague recollections, and that is when big mistakes start to happen.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
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