Three key questions

Damion Nickerson,
Engagement Manager,
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Day four out of five and it’s time for some self-reflection. I know it’s a tough one, but sometimes you do have to ask the question “am I the problem?”. When we discuss barriers to information sharing it’s important to consider this question first. Often the negative connotations around information sharing are that an individual, or organisation will not support your request for information. But, do we ever stop and consider why? In my work with partnerships, it’s a question I always ask the professionals around the table to consider and I follow this up with three further questions:

  1. Are you asking the right questions?
  2. Are your requests for information well informed?
  3. Are you sure that what you are requesting is within the legal boundaries?

If you are unable to answer these questions it could be that you are the problem. I recently sat with the chair of a partnership meeting who confided in me that they felt that a member was only sporadically attending meetings and often ducked any about information sharing. I attended the meeting and observed that the chair was demanding data from the partner member’s organisation and wanted to know there and then why it wasn’t be collated and sent. When a response which didn’t instantaneously agree with the chairs ideal resolution was given, it was ignored. The lack of understanding of legitimate concerns and reasoning had resulted in a breakdown of effective communication. Instead of enabling further discussion or even a compromise or resolution the chair ultimately became the barrier to information sharing.

As the first point of call, I would always check whether you are the problem or the barrier by taking a step back and asking yourself the three questions above. Transformation truly comes when you understand and work to resolve the barriers to information sharing.

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