Work Traits

Being Well-Informed

Being well-informed is particularly helpful for journalists, product developers, consultants, thought leaders, speakers, and educators.
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What is being well-informed?

You love working with facts, statistics, data, and knowledge. The more relevant and up-to-date information you can get, the better.

In fact, you can struggle to plan projects and make business decisions when you feel like you don’t have enough information to guide you. You prefer to understand the “why” and the “what” behind tasks and choices, which can be hard to ascertain when answers to your questions aren’t available.

On your team, you’re known for frequently sharing articles and other resources in our chat platforms, because you like to keep other people in the loop on relevant information and happenings too.

We call it: Information

Your level of interest in accumulating more information, facts, stats, data, and knowledge.

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.

Charles Babbage

Leaders who like being informed

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

Okay, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by author, Arthur Conan Doyle. But, who better to demonstrate a passion for being informed than one of the most famous and beloved sleuths of our time?

His approach involved collecting as much evidence as possible to solve mysteries, and he’s said to be modeled after one of Conan Doyle’s college professors. 

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” Holmes said in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s proof that he preferred to work with hard facts and findings, as opposed to opinions and theories.

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard until 2005, before announcing she was tossing her hat into the ring for the presidential nomination in 2016. 

Her presidential run was unsuccessful, and like many business people and political figures, her tenure at HP was somewhat controversial. But one thing is undisputed: She believed strongly in collecting as much data and information as possible to shape her business decisions.

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight,” she said in a speech at Oracle OpenWorld. “It’s actually now all about putting information to work. It is about transforming data from passive to active, from static to dynamic—transforming data into insight.”

Carly Fiorina
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Tim Sweeney

The name Tim Sweeney might not be common knowledge, but we’re willing to bet that Fortnite is. Sweeney is the CEO of Epic Games, the company behind the wildly popular game.

The smash success of Fortnite isn’t an accident—it’s a strategy that’s carefully supported by data, under the direction of Sweeney. In fact, a piece for CIO explains that Epic Games gathers an up-to-the-minute understanding of gamers’ satisfaction levels and interaction with the game. 

That information is passed to the game designers, who can make tweaks and changes to better suit the desires of players. It shows that Sweeney prefers to act with information, rather than on instinct.

The benefits of being well-informed

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Thorough understanding

You don’t operate with surface-level information. You dig into all of the details you can find to get a comprehensive understanding of a subject.

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Thoughtful decisions

Your thoroughness also makes you incredibly thoughtful. You don’t make decisions lightly and support your choices with plenty of evidence, data, and facts.

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Your focus on information means people on your team trust you. You’re often the one people turn to when they can’t find something or they need help.

The blind spots of being well-informed

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Consuming information can feel a lot like drinking from a firehose. If you aren’t careful, you can be bogged down by details and data and suffer from analysis paralysis.

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Particularly when you’re trying something new, data and information might not be available for you to sink your teeth into.

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Sometimes the best work happens when you think beyond existing information. That can be challenging for you to do, which can limit your ability to innovate.

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How to be more well-informed

1) Keep records.

One of the best ways to ensure you always have access to data and information is to create it yourself.

This doesn’t need to be anything complicated. When you wrap up a project, draft a brief summary and store it somewhere safe. Or, document meeting notes and file them away. This gives you plenty of information you can easily refer back to.

2) Ask thoughtful questions.

People who pride themselves on being well-informed don’t accept surface-level directions or conclusions. They dig deep to understand the “what,” “why,” and “how.”

Challenge yourself to ask questions before starting a project or making a decision. That will give you more information to work with, rather than moving forward with assumptions or opinions.

3) Consume information.

When you’re so wrapped up in the demands of your daily to-do list, it’s tough to set aside time to consume information and educate yourself.

That’s why you need to be intentional about dedicating effort and energy to your own development. Even if you block out an hour each week for reading and other educational opportunities, you’ll drastically improve your ability to stay informed.

4) Check your sources.

Information doesn’t do any good if you can’t trust where it came from. Don’t accept facts, statistics, and other data as the truth until you’ve verified the source.

Is it a legitimate source of information you can trust? Is it even the original source? Dig a little deeper to make sure you aren’t just operating with information—but credible information.

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