Invest in Meaning to create Business Value

Focus on meaning will lead out of the quagmire

Shift Information Management to Understanding Meaning. 

You must think of business decisioning and problem solving as an informational problem, not a process or application challenge.  Data plus more data gives you information.  Information plus intelligence gives you knowledge.  Knowledge plus action gives you transformation.  The fundamental underpinning of business value creation is to approach things differently – to approach each and every business issue as an opportunity to leverage the corporate data asset – to really understand the business – to uncover the meaning in what the accessible knowledge base tells us.   Leveraging the corporate knowledge asset provides the knowledge base for experimentation, modeling varied approaches to change and then providing the roadmap to business transformation. All those things lead to the understanding of what the inter-related element ‘mean”

We have discussed why people may not want the answer to a question – but beyond that, enabling decisioning to uncover the meaning of events and information is good for the business and for all members of the team.  Most IT departments are a major cause of limitations through their lack of enabling business knowledge because of their results-based approach to knowledge dissemination – “ask us for what you want and we will give it to you”.  We need to change that reality and move Information Management to enabling “meaning creation.

But even if IT were to make all information available and accessible – what then?  What about the accelerating volumes and types available within the corporate knowledge pool?

What about the traditional ideas in business makes little of no facility to capture the nuances in dealings with customers, prospects and stakeholders?

The huge efforts by business application software companies to convince the world that the deep understanding of data within their (very expensive) applications will benefit business at large.  What is missing is the ability to “relate” that view of the business to the more subtle views – what are customers saying about our products, what is the competition doing?  What is happening within the sales force? What web traffic are we generating to make one sale? In other words – what the information means so we can transform the business.

The most successful business especially from a customer perspective are those that make information available to all personnel (within reason – e.g. HR information) because any one person can respond to a customer situation – and more importantly resolve it.  Harrahs has invested heavily in knowledge creation about all aspects of the business, employees, customers and competition.  Harrahs arms its employees with the information that they need to empower the use of the interpreted meaning with the nuance of the situation to do what is best for the business.

Hidden information breeds suspicion and distrust and disguises the meaning of what is happening. At Continental Airlines, Bethunes’s early moves after the restructuring was to hold a big bonfire and burn all the rules books – then told the front line employees to do what is right to resolve customer challenges – the empowerment made for better employee relations and was the first major airline to actually go out of its way to inform customers of what was happening improving customer relations significantly. He also challenged IT with delivering the knowledge base for their use. The availability of information AND the empowerment of employees made Continental one of the best to fly.

I believe that we do not need a new form of analysis.  We need to support the human intellect in dealing with business and informational issues (volume).  We need to get off our historic ways of handling information and deliver knowledge making capabilities to all business users.  As we have stated throughout this treatise, we need to surround the human intellect with the best knowledge that computers can derive to enable decisioning.  We can no longer restrict information from people.  We should never write another report not write an application that fixes data into a rigid structure.  We need to forget that storage is costly – it isn’t.  We need to enable the information within a business or organization.  Information about the business is the greatest asset a company has – let’s let it loose.

Decision makers self limitations need to be dealt with.  IT capabilities need to be expanded.  Outdated approaches to information protection instead of wide-spread use in decisioning need to be shelved. We need to approach the problem differently.  We need to enable people to push their limits.  Using our technique called MindPlus(SM) enable people to extend their capabilities. MindPlus is about approaching the problem differently.  Then the application of the answer to the new questioning process needs to be different. Our experience has shown that if people follow the 6 basic steps they will not only thing better but also significantly improve and optimize the business.

The steps

  1. What am I trying to do?  Think about the      problem.   Your reason for acting needs to be looked at from a holistic perspective.  Don’t allow limitations to refine or define the problem
  2. What do I need to know to do it? – look at the problem holistically – what do you need to know. Are there analytical functions required, is the timing appropriate
  3. Is the information available?  Be realistic – but if you don’t have the information to answer the question that it must be acquired.  Else your limitations are rekindled
  4. If it is available, how will I use it to do what I am trying to do? – making a      decision is only one part of the challenge.  How will this knowledge be applied?
  5. When I actually do it, what value will it bring? – at every stage look at the value – if no value – why are you doing it?
  6. If it brings value, then what am I going to do different to enhance the value/process/company?  Always look at the value – if it brings value, how will that knowledge transform the decisioning and related results. What will you do differently in the future based on that knowledge? What does the knowledge mean to the business?  Then act.

©Trevelyan Group LLC 2012