Yesterday I became aware of two instances where information that could have saved a lot of aggravation and time was not shared.  I’m not going to condemn or criticize anyone here or anywhere.  I bring this up to emphasize the importance of sharing information.

Its easy to overlook a detail like case-sensitivity of a password or shipping delays.  In the throes of a project we make assumptions.  We assume certain things will be self-evident people or people will be able to figure it out.  However, when somebody realizes there is a problem don’t keep it a secret.  Even if you are working on a solution, tell people about it.  You never know where the solution might come from.  Making a problem known is not about admitting a mistake.  In many cases you’re probably stating the obvious. Which leads me to another reason for sharing information.

By revealing a problem you gain credibility rather than losing it.  There are plenty of people who don’t share information because they are afraid it will make them appear incompetent.  We appreciate humility in others but I find it is an undervalued characteristic in ourselves.  We naturally want to protect our reputations because we think our reputation is built on our ability to not make mistakes.

News flash: Unexpected things happen.  Everybody makes mistakes.  You can’t catch everything.

What makes a person unique is how they respond when a mistake is made or something unexpected happens.  The natural response is to protect yourself and try to save face.  That seems natural but its the wrong thing to do.  Instead you should acknowledge the problem and focus on your response.  You will gain people’s respect and you will likely come to a solution faster as a result.

This leads me to my last point.  To effectively interpret and share information you will need to re-engineer your day and get disciplined.  You are busy.  The constant flow of information is overwhelming.  Its difficult to take the time to analyze each piece of information that comes your way.  But you have to.  Other people need you to filter the information and pass along what is important in a timely manner with additional information you have that will help them.

Be intentional about your work.  Start keeping a log of your time.  What are your redundant tasks?  Where can you save time in your routine?  Where is your time wasted in the day?  By wasted I don’t mean time spent on productive tasks.  I mean where can your work environment be made more productive.  Share your findings with your supervisor.  Engaging in a conversation about this will yield results and free you to be more responsive and proactive with the information that passes through your inbox every day.