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I don’t recall when I wrote this or if it belongs to someone else but it is an important thing to keep in mind none the less.
  Not every message that enters or leaves the organization’s e-mail system is a business record. E-Mail containing information about lunch appointments, work group discussions, and administrative notices are examples of messages that probably do not have to be managed as “official” business records and may be discarded when no longer needed.

  The organization’s welfare depends on your ability to distinguish business records from nonessential to the annual company picnic has considerably less value than an external e-mail in which a contractor agrees to complete a specific project for an agreed-on fee. While the picnic announcement has little significance after the event, the contractor’s message may be needed in the future to hold the contractor to his price quoted or settle disputes over the quality or scope of work performed. Consequently, the contractor’s message is a business record and should be treated as such.

When it comes to business records, management faces a twofold challenge:

(1) You must establish a clear definition of a business record to protect the business and legal interests of the organization.

(2) You must communicate that definition clearly and consistently to all employees to ensure that the definition is applied properly, e-mail is managed effectively, and the organization’s legal interests are served.

The result: Valuable information is retained, and useless information that would otherwise overburden your system is purged.

Why is it that most organisations focus on crisis rather than important? It seems that getting a task done and greasing the squeaky wheel is the priority. Toxic employees and or managers go into fits of rage because something didn’t go as planned or they are protecting their turf. At some point someone has to stop the insanity, how could you possibly go on doing the same things over and over again expecting different results?

There it is, the question. I have found that good people are hard to find, if you don’t wait or look long enough. Most people are looking for relief in workload, want to feel important and valuable and know that there contributions matter. But my boss just doesn’t get it! He empowers the wrong people, he doesn’t listen and he lets people get away with murder. You’ve heard it all before.

So, why is it that many have this problem? I would suggest to you that the leaders at the top are not looking at the whole picture, they are looking at transactions and tasks that have to be completed on a deadline. When that happens, they end up managing in crisis mode rather than working in the important mode. How do you know when this is happening? How can you identify organisations in the wrong mode? It’s more obvious than you think, all you have to do is watch the people, there body language, are they happy, or do they complain more often than not. It’s really not that complicated, but, many don’t see it because they are in it everyday and never get a chance to step out of the crisis mode long enough to see all that is ailing them.

The smart top leaders recognize they aren’t the solution and will bring an outside source to work with them on making the shift to working on the important issues, the bigger picture and implementing the right systems that will remove the stress and allow finances to be directed to an area where it is really needed.

Build great teams, implement strong systems and your world will change top leaders. The how is always the question, a solution is to hire an outside source that understands those two very important environments or build a team of your best people with the aid of a consultant. People & Systems are the secret.

I’ll share more on this topic as it is one that I get asked many times to discuss.

Owen Greaves, Basic Author