Don’t Just State the Problem, Recommend a Solution

Posted on October 20, 2009 under Uncategorized by

Making the pitch to management in favor of electronic file management           

An article by Marcy Zweerink, “Good Faith Effort is Good for Business,” gives some advice on how to present a persuasive argument to company execs in favor of effective file management.  She speaks from the perspective of a large legal department in those companies where certain records need to be retained in case of possible litigation, but her logic applies to even small- or medium-sized businesses managers who might want convince higher-ups about the value of digital filing improvements. 

Nagging the boss about the “need” for systematic implementation of file management, she says, makes the whole idea sound like an obstacle in front of real profit-making activities, from which he or she will likely want to somehow dodge.  It is better to frame the problem in terms of course of action and consequences: 

“A wise boss once told me never to go to execs with only a statement of a problem. Instead, explain the problem, and then explain the options for solving it with your recommendation for a particular approach. The exec is then able weigh value and risk and decide which approach is best for the business.”

If arguments for better organizational policy are based on increasing profitability, executives can more easily justify the course of action, Zweerink says.  Generally speaking, good file management does correspond to better business practices, less mistakes, and improved profits.

“When management identifies priorities for RM [records management] improvement based on value and risk to the business, not only do they show good faith effort – a commitment to do the right thing – but it’s good for business because the improvements will lead directly to increased value and/or reduced risk. And the execs will believe in the benefits, because they chose them in the first place.”

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