Information Hoarders. How do you deal with them?

You know –the peeps that never tell you everything, they hold certain pieces of information from you or others—consistently. Do you or your management style make these people feel insignificant? Does the company culture make them feel insignificant or even worse threatened?

So the question is; how do we respond to people need and still meet business objectives? They are not mutually exclusive. There are many a seminars on this topic; one of THE best is “The Human Factor in Project Management”, by Kevin Ciccotti, CPPC, ACC, Cutting Edge Coaching and Consulting. There are also a plethora of books; my favorites include “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey, “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Seth Godin’s books are good too. And for the record, I do not recommend seminars I’ve not attended or books I’ve not read.

The point is, you as a project manager (leader), must find a way to deal with these people in order for your projects to run smoothly.  As Covey puts it in his book “The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders—customers, business partners, investors and co-workers—is the key leadership competency of the new global economy.”  Trust can be created, it can also be destroyed. Once destroyed it is hard to regain.  As Albert Einstein put it “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

Trust requires Integrity, their intent and behavior are congruous. It also requires humility. Why humility? A humble person is about doing right, not being right in the eyes of others. A humble person is about embracing the truth, building the team not building oneself on the back of the team, about recognizing others and their contribution, not claiming their team contributions as one’s own.

Trust also requires courage. Courage to do the right thing, even when it is hard. So are you doing enough? Make sure to ask yourself good honest questions, give your trust. Trust like respect must be given to be received and both must always be earned. In a true trust built relationship, there is no information hoarding.

The Law of Harvest

I believe in the Law of Harvest, as the Bible says to Reap what you Sow (Galatians 6:7-10) or as Stephen Covey expands it to “All lasting results are produced in sequence, governed by principles and grown from the inside out.” I would tell you which book, but my note card is so worn I can’t read it, and there are many flags in all his books, so it would take a long time to find. I am guessing either the 8th Habit or The Speed of Trust.

Those who know me well know I keep note cards with “stuff” on them. And that I keep blank ones in case I need more with “stuff” on them. I put quotes on my white board, on my cube walls, with magnetic poetry, a word doc I keep on my desk top. Why?

It’s not because I have a bad memory. It is a reminder not to forget the little basic stuff. When we get busy it is easy to do. One of them is titled: “Weasel Words.” We all tend to use them when we are not intentional with our thoughts and writings.  Again, the card (and it is not the first re-written one) is worn enough I am not sure where they came from. The words are:  rather, seemingly, somewhat, kind of, mostly, very, it would seem, in some respects, for the most part, for all intents and purposes, and pretty (as in pretty well). I try to read consciously to avoid these imprecise words and expressions. It takes practice and repetition. And then more practice.

When I hear an intelligent question asked by someone else, I write it down and add it to my toolbox. I continually try to learn new things, but also to reinforce the old. We learn new stuff, by being exposed to it. Sometimes by taking a class, sometimes by reading a book, and sometimes just by having conversations.

We reinforce the basics by using, practicing and teaching. When you give you get back. You reap what you’ve sown.  So give often, without condition and you will not be sorry, and your teams and projects and life, will run much smoother.

And speaking of basic stuff, I also have quite the collection of thank you and just because cards, and give them out regularly, with hand written thanks or appreciation, encouragement; whatever the reason. Everyone likes something handwritten and personal sometimes.