Change equals opportunity – Part 1

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We’ve all been there. Just when you think your records management program is going relatively smoothly, a big change lands in your lap screaming, “Deal with me!!!”

Whether the change originates outside the RM department, such as with corporate moves and mergers and acquisitions, or from within, such as migrating to a new records management system, the change always comes with upsides and downsides.

On the downside, change usually means more work, extra hassle and added risk. And it’s hard for many records managers to be overly cheery about that when they are already overworked and under-appreciated.

Better to embrace the change

Fortunately, there are usually more upsides to changes involving your RM program. (Who doesn’t love a highly efficient new shelving system, or better reports from your upgraded RM software?) Even without the prospect of a shiny new RM toy, every change initiative still brings a major upside: the opportunity to improve the way your organization manages information.

We have seen many smart records managers do this over the years. Instead of complaining about a major change coming down the pipe, they have focused on how they can use the change as an opportunity for program improvements.

What change can bring

One of our clients, a Canadian credit union, offers a great example of using change to your advantage.  A few years ago, the credit union was migrating to an entirely different core banking system. Because the new system used a different system for member numbering, the migration was set to have a huge impact on the records management department.

The RM team at Steinbach saw the opportunity in this “enforced change” and took advantage of it to implement a vastly improved RM program. This included:

  • Implementation of many long-standing items on their RM “wish list”
  • A “spring cleaning” exercise to eliminate duplicate and expired records that were adding unneeded cost to the RM program
  • Implementation of an RM software program to track both electronic and paper records going forward
  • Adoption of a much more efficient file labeling process

What could have been a difficult transition of questionable value to the RM department turned into a positive transformation of RM that the team was thrilled with. The biggest single difference between the two potential outcomes was the attitude that the RM team took towards the change. A great lesson for us all to keep in mind!

In part two of this blog post we will share tips to help you successfully manage RM changes within your organization.  Follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as it is posted!

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