Thursday, 31 May 2007

Companies mean paper

Asked to think about my experience with companies, as I joined the Board of ALIA, I naturally thought of two companies I have been involved in - NetAlert, and CAVAL. The overwhelming impression when thinking of these enterprises is the amount of paper they generate. Every company focuses on board meetings, and these focus on large volumes of paper.

With NetAlert (six meetings a year, voluminous paper) a large chunk of a room at home is filled with the papers, after more than seven years - December 1999 onwards, to June 2007.

The funny thing about the paper is that the really contentious matters - gossip, plotting, contested decisions - are transacted in other ways, by telephone or in person or by long email exchanges, They don't make it into the paper chase.

What does make it is all the ancillary documents - major reports, multiple versions of planning documents, and heaps more. Companies around the edges of the public sector are risk averse - not as risk averse as the public sector itself, but keen to leave matter undocumented. Other than the plotting and chat, of course.

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