My friend Euan is fond of explaining how stories can spark change. Stories acting as ways to help 'everyone make sense of what could otherwise be difficult to understand'. In a recent blog post he recalls how listening to a group of finance officers tell their stories 'flew in the face of conventional wisdom that would have us believe that accountants are not the most exciting people in the world'. I suspect that conventional wisdom might reach the same conclusion about those of us that work in recordkeeping or information compliance...
Yet the role of finance officers is crucial to organisations. As Euan puts it, 'all of them had a significant role to play in the overall story of their businesses'. I think you could make the same argument for recordkeepers, information governance teams or information compliance officers.
So how do we make that argument? We tell our stories. We explain what we do and why. How our goals align with the objectives of our organisations. How records and information management can be a driver for change and improvement. We tell our stories in ways that all our colleagues can understand. With as little jargon as possible. We make our stories relevant to them.
Finding ways to express the relevance of records and information management was a recurring theme at the recent IRMS Ireland/UCD event. It's been a recurring theme at almost every archives/records management event I've ever attended. Despite that, we still seem to tell our stories to each other. To other recordkeepers. We need to remember to tell them to people outwith our profession.
That’s why the IRMS Scotland/Perth & Kinross Council event that’s coming up in November is so interesting. It’s being held with the express intention of exploring how records and information management supports the use of information as an asset and can trigger improvement and change. Importantly, the audience won’t just be made up of recordkeepers or information compliance officers. The attendees will include lots of people working in the public sector in Scotland, all with differing roles and responsibilities.
My role? I’ll be trying to show how information compliance can be a catalyst for change. I’ll be telling a story. So will other records professionals. But this time we won’t just be talking to ourselves.