gathering of people setting sky lanterns up into the air
PHOTO: Ryan Franco

Leadership has been coming up in a lot of discussions lately. The first session of the 930gov conference’s knowledge management track focused on the need for leaders to pass on their knowledge for future success. Later this month, InfoGovCon will include a Leadership Summit at which I have been invited to speak.

Apparently being a good leader in the information space is coming in vogue.

There are reasons for this. One is that if we, as an industry, are finally going to move the needle of progress, people have to step up and lead the way. When it comes to how prospective leaders can lead the industry forward, it is simple: Be there.

Leaders Don't Speculate, They Do

Digital transformation, information governance and content services have monopolized the conversation over the past few years. All three are interrelated and are key to being successful in managing information. Many people want to know how to make it work. More importantly, they want to know if it can be done successfully.

My answer, to steal from my favorite Bo Jackson campaign, “Just do it.”

Execute and see how it works. Iterate and improve using the lessons you and your team have learned. Show others that it can be done. Share the key lessons so that others can work forward and build upon your setbacks and successes. 

Related Article: How Strong Leaders Avoid the Biggest Digital Transformation Mistakes

Share Your Missteps

This is the most important thing any of us can do for the industry. No one has everything figured out. We need to work together and share what doesn’t work. Just as importantly, we need to determine and share why something didn’t work.

Open communication engenders trust. People will follow those they trust to tell them the truth about the road ahead. It isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are dark forests full of challenges. The rewards of reaching the other side, where we have a working and sustainable information infrastructure, can help us finally achieve the only requirement we’ve ever wanted to meet: Providing the right information to people in the proper context exactly when and where they need it.

Related Article: Content Services Threaten to Repeat the Mistakes of Our ECM Past

We Must Persist

You cannot transform an organization overnight. You have to put in the work to see your own organization’s efforts through. Part of what becoming agile and moving to content services entails is thinking differently. That means everyone in your organization, not just your team. Some people will adjust quickly. Others will need constant encouragement.

Now extrapolate that change for the entire industry. Many people understand the need to start doing things differently. Some will cling to the world they know. The problem is the old ways led to more failed projects than successful ones. 

After two decades of enterprise content management, that is not success. That is denial.

Lead by pushing new ideas and new approaches. They don’t have to be your ideas. They just need to be new and worth trying. See them through to completion. Collaborate with others walking the same path. Adjust your approach as lessons are learned. Help the industry learn from those same lessons.

There is a lot of information in the world. It is going to take everyone striving to tame it to reach a point where we can hit our goal of having the right information at the right time in the right place. If you are still reading this, you have what it takes to be one of those leaders. Let’s push forward together and get it done.

Related Article: Disruption Demands We Look at Content Through a New Lens