Think about where you store information

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 25th June 2018

We have so much information to manage these days, and it can be hard to work out where to put it all. Most of us default to keeping our emails in folders in our mailbox, and documents in folders on our computer. This is fine in most circumstances. However, it can be frustrating for your colleagues when they need information relevant to their work, which is being hoarded by you.

In my new book Smart Teams, I talk about the need for us to collaborate and work in a way that serves. Not to be selfish, not to be selfless, but to be serving. This means thinking about what is best for you, AND thinking about what is best for the team – a win/win scenario. This mindset increases both our own personal productivity, but also the productivity of the group. When we keep information that is useful to the wider team in our personal folders, that can be selfish rather than serving.

A good way to think about your information is to consider whether it is private or public. If it is private, it is information that only holds value for you in your role. If you are going to bother keeping this information, by all means store it in your email filing system, or in your personal document folders.

But if you consider it to be public, it is information that may serve the wider team, and should be stored in a place that provides easy access, if and when they need to see it.

So where is the best place to keep this public information?06his is where you need to look at the suite of tools available in your organisation to store, manage and share information. Many of our client organisations are now using Office 365, which has a host of different tools available to do this. In our team, we love the simplicity of MS OneNote for storing business critical documentation that everyone needs to easily access.

If OneNote isn’t enough, OneDrive or SharePoint might be the appropriate place. If you are collaborating with others across the organisation on a project, you might post information on MS Teams or Yammer. If you are working with clients your team may have a CRM tool that should be used to keep everyone across what is happening with the client. And if you work in a law firm, you might have a matter document management system for centrally storing all documents and emails related to each client matter.

As you can see, we are now faced with more and more choices, which can be part of the problem. Most people just don’t know where to put the information, so they default to keeping it private. So, the simple solution is to have a conversation with your team, and work out what information should be made public, and the best tool to use to share it.

Put this on the agenda for your next team meeting or offsite, and get everyone on the same page.

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