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Clearly, there's a need for a joint venture between legal and IT to protect the corporation by implementing employee-awareness campaigns, and creating/ repairing/documenting data-retention, litigation hold and data destruction processes.
Getting it done
To change your company's current state of document- retention compliance, you'll need to brush up on your ability to influence others. The General Electric Company uses the following basic process, called "Change Acceleration Process," to not only turn the direction of the company, but ensure that the new path selected is strong enough to last.
- Prepare the management team or initiator of change to effectively lead. Many company directors and officers have short attention spans, so the best way to make an initial good impression is to use 30-second sound bites of critical information that matters the most to them. Be specific about the topic; for example, say "Regarding implementing the record- retention guidelines. How much can the business save? What is the risk of doing nothing?"
- Pick a sponsor with visible, active public commitment and support of the change. Try to get the sponsorship of your chief legal counsel or CFO; they're the best company representatives for activities associated with litigation preparedness and compliance. If this isn't reasonable, then find your champion based on their ability to influence the organization.
- Create a shared need and develop a vision and strategy for the company's forward direction. A high-impact method to change behaviors is to provide actual vignettes with painful outcomes to validate the importance and consequences related to the management of information and records. A daily scan of the front page of The Wall Street Journal often nets the best results.
This was first published in September 2007