One of my go-to pop references while consulting, presenting, and teaching is the scene in the 1991 movie City Slickers where Jack Palance tells Billy Crystal that the secret of life is One Thing. The catch, Palance says, is that we have to figure out what that One Thing is for ourselves.
Bill Hader said much the same thing in a 2019 interview recorded at the New York Film Academy in which he advised students seeking to simplify their complex mix of creative drives to “make it about the story” (go to 21:09) – that’s his One Thing.
And when I was a Scout leader and Little League Coach, the best One Thing I ever heard was to remember that these programs exist solely to serve the kids. This made it clearer, if not always easier, to deal with the inevitable adult politicking and other distractions that were part of the packages.
Infogov’s One Thing
I tell you all this because this philosophy applies quite well to records and information governance, and following it can really help you pick a path through what can be a complicated series of steps.
Here, the One Thing is to serve the cause of Doing Information Right. Fixating on this single principle allows you to evaluate and prioritize each idea, each decision, by filtering it through questions like these:
Does this help me do information right? What business problem(s) does it solve? Is it a direct or a tangential solution? Or does it even apply at all?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: records and information governance don’t have to be as hard as we often make them out to be. Staying true to the One Thing is how you keep them from becoming so.
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