Do You Know What You Need to Know?

Thinking and taking action in terms of “Need to Know” is greatly neglected in everyday life. It is perhaps the main source of ineffectiveness and of inefficiency in organizations.   As a leader, you must make it high priority.

Most people tell other people what they happen to know – whether from some past and irrelevant experience, or from today’s media or gossip.  Do not tolerate this.

People can look at your role in the organization and make intelligent deductions about what you need to know.  Develop in them this critical capability.  One good way is to require them to provide you with great briefings – either on a daily schedule or as the need arises.

A briefing is a highly condensed report of what one person knows that someone else needs to know. The criteria: critical and timely intelligence about what is going on that might bear upon any other’s performance or upon the mission of the organization.

The fewer the words, the better. The more critical and timely the subject, the better.

This process will also make them better at acquiring what they need to know to grow and prosper in the performance of their own role.

It is invaluable to know this. It is even more invaluable to apply it and reap the positive consequences.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader, Excerpt from Communication: A Pocket Oracle for Leaders