There are moments in life when a simple change makes all the difference. Often, it just takes a dash of open-mindedness and the willingness to try something new to break us free of the shackles of routine mediocrity and produce amazing results.
For me, it was a slight adjustment in my tennis serve. For the RIM profession, it was a mental adjustment to scale: the scale of modern data eligible for “records” status.
Ever since I picked up a racquet when I was seven, I have been an adamant tennis player. I loved navigating the contours of the court focusing on my footwork, court positioning, and shot selection as topspin and slice shots exploded off the face of my racquet.
As my game progressed, so did my hunger for competition and performing at USTA tournaments. After winning my first two USTA level three tournaments (the lowest regional level), I decided to take it up a notch and registered for a myriad of USTA level one tournaments (the highest regional level).
My first few matches almost brought me to tears as my game was systematically ripped to shreds by opponents. I noticed that my serve, in particular, was my main vulnerability as it was repeatedly picked off for service return winners. My serve just could not keep up with the big boys.
Determined to turn my losing streak around, my coach recommended that instead of tossing the tennis ball directly over my head as usual, I should toss the ball six inches further to my right and six inches forward. This would allow me to more effectively shift my body weight forward through the service motion, providing additional momentum and racquet head acceleration. After only a bit of practice, I had added approximately five to ten miles per hour to my first serve due to this simple alteration. With only a slight tinkering, my serve was transformed from a liability into a formidable strength as I was reinvigorated and began taking on higher ranked players.
Similarly, some records managers lament that the digitization has rendered the traditional concept of “records” frail and dying. What these record managers misunderstand is that RIM is not fading away; it is evolving. The digitization of all corporate communication is causing an explosion of available enterprise data that in years past would have been spoken-word, discarded, or sitting in a voluminous stacks of unseen filing cabinets in some remote warehouse. Due to this process, RIM has grown into its big brother -- RIM 2.0 -- and now encompasses permission controls, audit trails, deletion policies, and automated classification to ensure that relevant documents are retained and junk is disposed of.
The simple adjustment for RIM was taking into account data scale. When you think of ALL enterprise data as a potential record, you adjust your strategy accordingly. Today’s records professionals do not see auto-classification as a replacement for human effort, but rather a supplement to deal with the volume of content that simply didn’t exist before mass digitization.
Whether it’s adjusting your service motion to ramp up rpm’s or adopting scalable auto-classification strategies to complement human classification, the creation of value often comes down to tinkering with different strategies and techniques in order to fully utilize the resources you already have.