People and Information

A lot of problems are closely related to information or (to point more directly to the reason of this post) - the lack of information is a primary cause for a lot of information.

But such a lack has to be defined more detailed. When something goes wrong, it could be that:

  1. Information has not been (well) researched.
    This includes: People not enough interested to gather the required or helpful information, people not getting enough into detail.
  2. (Wrong) assumptions and interpretations about the existing information.
    This includes: People reading more from the information as given as well as leaving out details that seem to be irrelevant.
  3. Information not well distributed (in time).
    This includes: People do not well know or forget to distribute researched or received information to the right people who need to deal with it, people have outdated contact details of other persons (e.g. wrong address), technical problems in information delivery (delayed emails, emails moved to spam), information distributed too late, people replying only to sender and do not reply to all when several people on the original recipient list, inadequate systems used (email instead of forums for multi-player-projects, forums used although a Wiki would do better or would be required in addition etc etc), information arriving at the wrong people.
  4. Information not read/listened (carefully).
    Yes, in many cases, people simply do not read (well) their e-mails or stop after a few lines when facing longer messages. By tendency the longer a letter/email/document the more likely is it that it is not read (carefully/until the end).
  5. Information is not understood.
    In many cases information has to cross several borders (e.g. from customer to sales to project manager to technical staff and back all the way) and during this information flow the information also has to be somewhat translated, because on different levels there are different "languages" being spoken. - And this brings us to the more important point: In many cases people speaking different languages are involved or at least not having the same mother tongue.
Whenever something starts getting wrong, examine the points above and check your situation. I notice that in many cases, the organization (of a company for instance) may be a big factor that decides whether information is taking the right paths or not.

Related posts: Information overflow, Tell not more and not less, Hot air, Prudential innovation, Prejudice vs economization.


Know your options

I had a discussion this evening whether it is always good to tell everything or to always offer help.

The strongest argument against was, that you can cause people getting hurt - telling the truth or imposing help on somebody who is not ready, can cause emotional suffering.

I remember, that my grandma told me about big lies that have been told in the family during the war to reduce emotional suffering. I have also experienced some lies being told or some details were hold back during my childhood - to avoid unnecessary worries.

On the other hand, missing some - maybe important - details may lead me setting completely different priorities. I agree in the way that nobody should be urged to take your orders.

But: You should people offer your helping hand - people should know their options! And there is no obligation to deliver - so being on the other side, get the available information to know your options!

Building know-how, finding contacts and partners, collecting your own experience - this all helps in getting a more complete view of the situation and the possibilities you can choose from.

Related post: Knowledge is freedom, Total cost of commitment.