Key Skills for Records Managers: How RIM Professionals Can Best Work With CPOs

David Geer

Key skills for records managers include the ability to foster good relations with Chief Privacy Officers (CPOs) in support of the company’s privacy program. You can back the CPO and their team with the information and services they need to protect customer confidentiality.

Records and information managers make excellent consultants to the CPO. Your expertise engenders reduced risk of noncompliance with privacy regulations. For example, you may be able to assist CPOs in matters regarding the metadata that describes customer data. Metadata about customer data is critical to the CPO’s mission to maintain data privacy.

Records managers can share familiar regulations and company policies that the organization already enforces related to customer data; CPOs need to know what is in place, as they may be able to leave some things alone rather than duplicate existing efforts. By using intuitive tools and tips for better executive relationships, you can optimize interactions with the CPO and benefit concerned customers.

1. The role reversal technique. Using role reversal exercises, records managers and CPOs can briefly assume the other’s position to understand one another better. When records and information managers see themselves as their CPOs, they begin to appreciate the responsibilities of the role. CPOs must ensure that the company complies with data privacy regulations. Imagining how you would feel if this were your burden, you can internalize many of the concerns and priorities of CPOs, then look to your strengths and resources to gird their efforts.

2. Pieces to a puzzle. No puzzle or picture is complete without all the pieces. Due to the records and information manager’s experience and expertise in areas where the CPO may be lacking, it will help you both to understand how you complement each other in relation to a given goal or task. For example, where the CPO understands the current privacy climate and the needs and demands of the customer, the records manager knows how end-of-life deletion of customer data avoids exposure for affected customers.

CPOs need to know where and how the company stores data and ensure that this meets the protection requirements for private data. CPOs should be able to count on the records manager’s expertise in legal concerns and requirements related to data issues that are relevant to the CPO’s responsibilities. See yourself as the missing piece, and with your help, the CPO will have a more transparent image of the landscape and how to preserve the privacy of customer data.

3. Give and take. RIM professionals and CPOs can acquiesce to each other in mutually beneficial ways. In matters of customer concerns over data privacy, CPOs can drive goals and requirements while records and information managers counsel them about existing policies and regulations that are in play.

When you appreciate what the CPO needs, it’s easier for the CPO to understand your needs and any limitations on what you can do to help.

4. Exercise likable leadership. People enjoy working with people they like. If you like someone, you are more willing to help them. Likability should be one of the key skills for records managers to remove any obstacles between you and the CPO and their objectives.

If you can be kind and genuine, exercise humility, and listen to your CPO, your relationship and your work should progress.

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