Information is power. Knowledge is power. At work, information and knowledge allow us to be at our best and contribute in a highly effective manner. We stay focused on the important, are fully aware of emerging issues and obstacles, and understand the big picture. Without timely information and knowledge, we end up working in a vacuum and we're not hooked in to real time needs, opportunities and circumstances.

You simply can NOT effectively succeed if you're out of the information loop. You're bound to get tripped up.

Are you in the loop or out of the loop? Some signs you may be out of the loop include:

- You hear about things only as they are happening, with no advanced notice or no forewarning.

- You hear about company matters from people and friends OUTSIDE of your company; you may hear about things first in the media.

- Others at work often surprise you with things they know about the company.

- You often find the project you're working on has been tabled or is no longer important - after having spent significant time and effort on the project.

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So, what CAN you do to stay in the loop? How do you KEEP CURRENT on company events, happenings and results? Consider these ideas:

- Build and maintain your internal network, particularly with individuals outside of your group or department. Expand your coverage within the company. Go to lunch, have coffee, attend company outings, etc.

- Set up a Google Alert using your company name as the search string. You can have those alerts routed to your email box or dropped into Google Reader if you subscribe to that application.

- Stay in touch with alumni - people who have left the company. You'll be surprised at how in the loop some of those people can be.

- Maintain a great relationship with your boss/manager/supervisor. Spend time with them often. Ask questions, be alert for signals.

- Read all information published by your company - newsletters, annual reports, press releases, etc.

- Keep your eyes and ears open. Be alert when outsiders visit the company, particularly if they spend time interviewing the management team. Ask about those situations.

- Share knowledge YOU gain with others. You'll set up a reciprocal type relationship when you do so.

A final note: Beware of the Rumor Mill - confirm things you hear with others in the organization whom you trust. Don't be shy about asking your boss or supervisor. Dispel rumors once you know the real story - don't let them fester.