A recurring business theme I see is the challenge of sharing the right level of information with teams.

Sometimes it is too much, often it is not enough. This article is going to focus on not enough information.

Let me give you a practical example, before I share a few thoughts with you.

The scheduling of a service delivery team was a cause of ongoing frustration. It appeared to the bulk of the staff members that this was done in a last minute, haphazard way. The effect was that staff were pulled from client site to client on a daily basis. It looked disorganised and it didn’t support effective planning and preparation.

This topic naturally made its way into their programme of improvements. The team were happy that it was going to be reviewed.

However, they were stunned when they found out that one of the senior managers already carried out some reasonably good scheduling. This manager didn’t share the schedule with anyone and this was a major part of the issue the rest of the team faced. The schedule was indeed re-worked everyday, the team were right about this, and a handful of changes were made daily (the team had overestimated this). Everyone agreed that the situation could be better.

In short, the programme was shared amongst the team formally. Preparation and planning started to take place and the volume of tweaking to the schedule reduced. The team became more effective as a result. It was this simple to resolve their planning issue; share the existing plan!

The point here is that getting the balance between sharing and not sharing should always be considered. Too much can be confusing. Too little and your efficiencies and effectiveness can evaporate.

Apart from schedules, what else jumps to your mind that we should possibly be sharing more?

Here are some examples:

Policies – can they be shared, explained and promoted in a better way?

Registers of documents – can these be more easily accessible and easier to navigate / use?

Action lists – could they be located somewhere that is more accessible, tied in with existing meetings and can the overdue actions be clearer?

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) – can they be made available at the point of use and rolled out more effectively?

Reasons for change – can they be shared more widely in your business, prior to the change taking place?

I hope this article has given you some food for thought. At the start of this article I mentioned that some organisations have too much information being shared. People already have coping mechanisms for having too much information (including complaining and ignoring!). But, when there isn’t enough information it can be a different story. What do you ask for? Who do you speak to? What are you asking for? These are questions that most team members aren’t able to answer, let alone have time to think about asking.

I also hope that you already have the balance right. If you don’t, please use this article as a prompt to figure out a better way to manage information in and around your business.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.