September 14, 2012 - 4:00 PM
I overuse the word “awesome.” so I apologize for subjecting you to my continued bad habits but no other word will suffice because ZOMBIES = AWESOME: http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse/
Use of zombies in this context is not so much brilliant as it is clever. The CDC is encouraging the average, zombie fearing citizen to prepare for a disaster by teaching them how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. This campaign works because it sparks the imagination. And because it speaks to a demographic that has NOT experienced a world war or a flu epidemic and might be a tad cavalier when it comes to disaster preparedness.
Why is the zombie apocalypse important to those of us in the Information Governance field? It has a lesson about how your communication campaign/training program can spark the imagination of your audience. When I train business areas on the painfully dry material I cover, I try to understand something about the information they have and the things that keep them up and night and give them (often exaggerated) scenarios to which they can relate. When I talk to HR, I use “harassment in the workplace” examples. When I talk to manufacturing facilities, I insert ”unusable raw materials” sorts of examples (I’ll omit the details on that example here, since it might be close to your lunchtime). I do this to make sure they understand that I really have thought about how this will affect them and so that they can relate to the message.
Which takes me back to two of my fundamental “how to succeed in information governance” principles: Frist, it’s all about THE WORK. What is the organization you’re addressing trying to do? How do they create value for customers? You need to understand that before you can make any suggestions or recommendations or draft a policy or a standard. The RULES and the TOOLS need to support the WORK. Or they’ll immediately be circumvented. Then explicitly describe how the policy/standards/tools HELPS people do their jobs in all your communications. Making sure that your communications are directly connected to the (real or imagined) challenges your audience faces will help them retain your message and, hopefully, motivate them to do whatever it is you’re suggesting.
Second, governing information/managing records/being compliant/implementing technology may be your full time job, but it isn’t anyone else’s. They have other jobs that keep them plenty busy. You are tasked with getting their attention when they have other, far more critical (to them) items on their plate. So your message needs to be memorable.
Now, keep in mind, this whole “being engaging” thing can be overdone. It’s a fine line between “interesting” and “complete waste of time.” I’m sure I cross that line on a regular basis, hopefully only briefly. You have to get their attention, but if you just tell interesting stories and recite clever quips that have no relationship to your point, you don’t serve the true goal of helping people learn. Ultimately, any weirdness must support the business objective.
Up until now, you’ve only seen people that act like zombies in your workplace. But now you know how to prepare for the real thing….just in case.
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