Nurturing Leadership at the Library


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Keynote Address at the Library and Management Institute (LMI) Summer Conference, July 9, 2012.

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  • Good Morning Everyone! It’s an honor to be here with you today to help kick off the LMI Summer Conference. Before we properly begin, I’d like to create a little bit of perspective by asking a simple question: Why are we here today
  • Why are we here today? A seemingly simple question , and one I try to continually ask and answer every day So before we begin this wonderful conference, please take a moment, and reflect on the question. Why are we here today at the LMI Summer Conference in Glenside, PA? Why are YOU here ?
  • Let’s further define some terms …. What do we mean by “here ”
  • For a little more perspective… What do we mean by Today
  • Well, who are WE?
  • Of the 108 billion people who have ever lived , we get to meaningfully interact with a few hundred, maybe a few thousand. So look around you at the people in this room, the people who have come to this conference And now think about your colleagues back at the library, and think about the people you serve in the library. Of all of 108 billion people who have ever lived, these (along with your family and friends, of course) are the few people you get to spend time with on your journey. Our time here together is precious.
  • Really puts things in perspective
  • So I will ask again: Why are we here today? Because Our time together is precious We want to use our time here to make a difference I want to be awake and fully present and… Use my time to enrich my life and the lives of those around me .
  • The theme for the conference is “Nurturing Leadership in Your Library. Why is it important that we be nurturing leadership in our libraries? There are a number of reasons. For me the primary reason is: Because the pace of change has fundamentally changed the game. And simply put, I believe that to be successful in this new landscape of rapid change, we need a radically different type of organizational structure – one that develops and empowers staff at all levels. Let’s explore a little bit more about what’s happening with the pace of change.
  • Here are two charts that demonstrate the pace of change You can see that the amount of time between disruptive technologies and major shifts that they bring about has continually compacted. (quickly review) This means that great grandfather’s life was virtually indistinguishable from his father’s life. They both lived in a make shift house , with a dirt floor, a wood burning oven, and no plumbing. The first 13 years of my grandfather’s life were the same as his fathers In 1921 he left Russia for America and the next 80 years of his life saw: Automobiles, Indoor plumbing, Telephones, Heart surgery, Air travel, Satellites in orbit Space travel a moon landing, Television, Microwaves, Portable radios and tape players In other words, my grandfather saw more significant change in his life than his ancestors saw in the 500 years previous. To contrast, my 15 year old nephew has never known a world without: Internet, 156 HD channels, Invisible braces, DVDs, Cell phones, Text Messaging The pace of change– the introduction of “disruptive technologies” continue to happen at an exponential pace… In October 2008, the comedian Louis CK was on the Conan O’Brien Show and he shared some observations about technological change and how our expectations rapidly shift in light of new technologies. Lets watch. [click]
  • SHOW VIDEO ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Funny right, but he captures something there, about how customers expectations shift very quickly when they are exposed to new technologies that make their life easier—or at least technologies that they value. Back when we started in late 2001 and I started going around doing presentations, I would ask, “how many of you have been on the internet in the last 24 hours.” In the beginning I’d see 10-25% of hands go up. Each year, I’d see more and more hands go up. And now when I ask that question (ask it) . I inevitably see 100% How many of you have texted w/I the last 24 hours? Been on a social network? In a few years, how many hands will we see? The fact is, that technology doesn’t just expand what’s possible, it shifts our expectations and the expectations of our customers. Which means we have to be continually evaluating and shifting our role as librarians to respond to the shifting needs and expectation of those that we serve . But we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves… Let’s finish this discussion on the pace of change [click]
  • Up until recently, there was an accepted model of how change happens in society and organizations: The Freeze,Unfreeze,Re-freeze model , This model suggests that: Our structures, our organizations , and therefore our experiences remain fairly stable (or frozen) for long periods of time Some fundamental change occurs, and for a period of time, things unfreeze. We all get used to the change, it’s ramifications play out, and we settle into the new normal. We refreeze. This model makes sense when we apply it historically, but over the last 100 years, the periods between each change have gotten smaller and smaller, to the point where it seems we don’t even get to the refreeze point. With regard to change we are now more in a state of continual fluidity . Peter Vaill, a Professor of Mgmt at Antioch Univ . observed this phenomena and suggested a new model to help us understand change .
  • We are now in what Peter Vaill and other change mgmt experts call: Permanent whitewater. Whitewater suggests a number of things It suggests a fast-pace ; It suggests that the situation changes by the second It suggests that we need to vigilant, aware and responsive moment by moment It also suggests that we can have a general sense of shape of the river—the direction of current — Maybe know where the really big rocks are . We can’t control the ride, but we can influence it . So, what can we do to be successful in this new reality?
  • REIMAGINE THE ORGANIZATION Libraries, like many orgs tend to be hierarchical, and slow to act. Hierarchical, slow-moving, organizations were well-positioned to thrive when disruptive change happened one every 10-20 years. No more! We need to rethink and reimagine our organizational structures and cultures in a way that we quickly surface and implement innovative ideas. The ability to move quickly to meet needs and expectations —and beyond that to surprise, and delight— is what we need to survive and thrive in the new reality. That means we need to flatten our organizations and do a better job of empowering everyone to think creatively , work collaboratively , and take action quickly , and without a lot of red tape. In short we need to create cultures of shared leadership . One extreme example of this new type of organization is Valve . It has NO hierarch No managemen No structu Anyone can launch a project. Or hire. Again, I stress, that their structure is extreme —and I’m not advocating that we do that far. But Think of it as runway fashion . What they’re doing is pretty far out there, but some of those far out ideas can be scaled back and used by the rest of us.. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend taking a look at the Valve Handbook for Employees . ( Not just for the ideas , but for the wonderful spirit of honesty and playfulness that it embodies.
  • While we may not need to go as far as Valve in empowering people to use their good judgment, think creatively and take action as needed, we do need move in that direction and away from THIS … [watch video] Of course, the problem with highly structured organizations , where there are strict divisions of labor , and clearly defined (and often fiercely protected) areas of responsibility—or TURF —is that even if you have competent people in place, it doesn’t protect you from THIS…. [watch part 2 of video]
  • We can’t afford to have these types of employees any more.
  • WE NEED TO FLATTEN THE ORGANIZATION How does that look? Flatten the organization Strong shared Vision Less Hierarchy Bias for action Bias for risk-taking Employee empowerment to act Encourage Emergent Leadership
  • We need to encourage and nurture what Peter Northhouse calls “ Emergent Leaders ”: Northouse defines Emergent Leaders as those who : Have No formal authority Motivate others Initiate new ideas Seek others’ opinions Are passionate and involved So what do these “Emergent Leaders” need from us by way of nurturing ? I asked them.
  • I posed the question in the “ALA Think Tank” Facebook group. [emerging leaders, movers/shakers, MIH] I’ve identified some main themes and used a quote to illustrate each theme.
  • Segue to: M odel it for us A number of Think Tankers mentioned the need for managers to model Leadership Skills , so let’s talk about that: BTW [click] No baby ducks were hurt in the making of this slide.
  • So… What are those skills that we need to be modeling ?
  • Example: Library Sleevefacing Bowling Green State University – Way to welcome new students and orient them to the library Take pictures in different parts of the library, then post them.
  • Makes Good Decisions
  • It’s about creating meaning…
  • Optimistic leadership is not about seeing the world through rose colored glasses . We need to make decisions based on in reality.  But once you have your plan, optimism will inspire the hopefulness and confidence that is required to take action and inspire others to align their energy with the goal Optimism or pessimism is not ultimately about any specific situation -- it is conscious choice in how to frame the reality of a situation that puts us in a greater state of resourcefulness and helps therefore helps us succeed. And the cherry on top is that there is a lot of recent research that suggests that an optimism outlook correlates with longevity, health, and happiness. I highly recommend Sara Kelley-Mudie’s post on Relentless Optimism: OK, so what other leadership skills do we need to be modeling? 
  • Nannerl Keohane former pres of Wellesley and Duke, and author of “Thinking About Leadership” suggests these core attributes of leadership : (interview: Judgment (intuition, intelligence, experience) Information Mastery Courage Self-awareness Stamina Sense of humor Decision making Compromise (how and when) Sense of responsibility Commitment to a cause beyond yourself Passion and proportion (Detachment) Easy! Right? So there’s our challenge : We nurture leadership by walking the talk. [click] (And the Think Tankers were quite clear about what else they needed)
  • Nurturing Leadership Ask people what they need. Assume they are creative and resourceful Empower them . (no, really. Do it.) Promote a culture of risk-taking and action Help them develop themselves , especially, their self-knowledge, EQ, and communication skills. Reframe failure as data, as learning. Understand Theories of Motivation (Dan Pink- Drive. Creative Control and ability to solve problems) In closing, I’d like to leave you with a challenge
  • And it is: To take a moment every day and remember that in addition to all of the tasks , all the job duties , all of the meetings and budget spreadsheets , all of the desk schedules , all of the data management , collections , and facilities issues , all of the emails and phone calls … Remember that at the end of the day, the most important part of your job is this :
  • Think about that . And give thought to what YOU want to happen in your life , in your community , in your library , in your profession . Take time to get clear on what you want to see happen and then start making some choices and taking actions -- and encouraging your staff to do the same. Take Actions that move you in the direction of your preferred future.
  • The world needs libraries , now more than ever, and your library needs YOU . So I challenge you to be 100% present and not look to someone else to take the reins, lay out the vision, push for change, or challenge the process. It falls to you . It falls to each of us . We may or may not have positional authority , but in any moment, in any situation , we can all make choices and take actions that exert influence . And we must. Thank you for the great work you do , and for your passion and commitment to libraries. And thank you, for having me.
  • Po
  • Nurturing Leadership at the Library

    1. 1. Nurturing LeadershipLMI Summer Conference July 9, 2012
    2. 2. But First… A little perspectiveWhy Are We Here Today?
    3. 3. Why Are We Here Today?
    4. 4. Here
    5. 5. Here
    6. 6. Here
    7. 7. Here
    8. 8. Here
    9. 9. Here
    10. 10. Here
    11. 11. Here
    12. 12. Here
    13. 13. Why Are We Here Today?
    14. 14. Today
    15. 15. Today
    16. 16. Why Are We Here Today?
    17. 17. Why Are We Here Today?
    18. 18. Nigel: It really puts perspective on things, though, doesnt it?David: Too much, theres too much f*#%ing perspective now.
    19. 19. Why Are We Here Today?
    20. 20. Nurturing Leadership in Your Library
    21. 21. Exponential Pace of Change1.5 mill yrs lever, wedge500,000 yrs control of fire50,000 yrs bow & arrow5,000 years wheel and axle; sail500 years printing press with movable type; rifle100 years automobiles50 years satellites30 years IBM Home Computer25 years Windows / Mac20 years World wide web10 years ago iPod, Netflix, Tivo5-7 years ago Ubiquitous Broadband, Blogging, Skype4 years ago iPhone, Android, App Store, Geolocation< 4 years SMS/Smartphone ubiquity, Twitter, Facebook< 2 years Tablets, iPads, Cloud AMAZON-APPLE-GOOGLE-FACEBOOK
    22. 22. Pace of Change“Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” -Louis CK
    23. 23. Unfreeze/Refreeze Change Model
    24. 24. ThePermanent Whitewater Importance of Leadership at All Levels
    25. 25. Reimagine the Organization
    26. 26. Waiting for a Leader…
    27. 27. Part Two
    28. 28. Flatten the OrganizationWHAT DOES FLAT LOOK LIKE?• Strong shared Vision• Less Hierarchy• Bias for action• Bias for risk-taking• Employees empowered to act
    29. 29. Nurture Emergent Leaders2. No formal authority3. Are passionate and involved4. Motivate Others5. Initiate new ideas6. Seek others’ opinions
    30. 30. Emergent Leaders SpeakThoughts from ALA Think Tank
    31. 31. Emergent Leaders Speak Say “Yes” and LISTEN“Say yes to the dreamers. Listen tothe ideas/insights and thenencourage attempts to address theproblems. Sometimes the mostinsightful ideas come from peoplewho are new to a task or duty.” - Aaron
    32. 32. Emergent Leaders Speak Say “Yes” and ENCOURAGETry to find a "yes" answer first to allrequests. When a staff member hasan idea, encourage it with a "yes".Ideas about service or functionsmean an employee is engaged andwilling to work. Never discourage that. -Gina
    33. 33. Emergent Leaders Speak Let People Fail“Let people fail without freaking out.Partly because for someone to failthey have to try something new first,and partly because I always learnmore from my failures than fromthings that go well.” - Lauren
    34. 34. Emergent Leaders Speak Give Creative Control“Let everyone have a pet project,and give them a forum to sharethem- newsletter, minute meeting,bulletin board- so that each staffperson gets an opportunity to usetheir talent and that everyone feelslike they have something specialand valuable to contribute. - Jaime
    35. 35. Emergent Leaders Speak Let us Take Charge“Give us opportunities to takecharge, and let the scope of thoseopportunities grow as we prove ourcompetency. To whatever extent ispossible, be a service-orientedmanager: not just focusing onserving the patron/customer, but alsoserving your employees.” -Beth
    36. 36. Emergent Leaders Speak Get out of the way“Hire smart people and get the hellout of their way. Be patient... if yousit back just a bit longer than youreused to, the solutions are discoveredby your staff and because theydiscovered it, they most likely willwant to own it - Chris
    37. 37. Emergent Leaders Speak Give us FeedbackGive people ongoing feedback. TheyWANT to know how they are doingand what the impact of their work isfrom your perspective. - Kathryn
    38. 38. Emergent Leaders Speak Model it for usBe role models. This doesnt meanthey have to have the ideas, but theyneed to live out the qualities of aleader to encourage/nurture newones. Taking risks, owning mistakes,listening to new ideas, encouragingexperimenting, and accepting failure.. - Erica
    39. 39. Model Good Leadership
    40. 40. Model Good Leadership
    41. 41. Calls Bull-&#!+ if needed
    42. 42. Calls Bull-&#!+ if needed
    43. 43. Appreciates alternate perspectives
    44. 44. Appreciates alternate perspectives
    45. 45. Adaptable: Can Put on a Happy Face
    46. 46. Makes Good Decisions
    47. 47. Understands Complexity Communicates Simply
    48. 48. Doesn’t Personalize
    49. 49. Doesn’t Overthink Things ? ? ?
    50. 50. Doesn’t Overthink Things
    51. 51. Or…
    52. 52. Or…study things to death (have a bias for action)
    53. 53. No Surprises
    54. 54. No Surprises
    55. 55. Tells it to ‘em
    56. 56. Tells it to ‘em straight
    57. 57. Aligns actions with mission/goals
    58. 58. Be Relentlessly Optimistic
    59. 59. Most Valuable Leadership AssetsJudgment (intuition, intelligence, experience)Information MasteryCourageSelf-awarenessStaminaSense of humorDecision makingCompromise (how and when) -Nannerl KeohaneSense of responsibilityCommitment to a cause beyond yourselfPassion and proportion (Detachment) interview:
    60. 60. Ways to Nurture Leadership• Ask people what they need.• Assume they are creative and resourceful• Empower them. (no, really. Do it.)• Promote a culture of risk-taking and action• Help them develop themselves, especially, their self-knowledge, EQ, and communication skills• Reframe failure as data, as learning.• Understand Theories of Motivation
    61. 61.
    62. 62. “My job is toawaken possibilityin other people”-Benjamin Zander
    63. 63. Peter Bromberg Thank you! |
    64. 64. Deleted Scenes
    65. 65. Sources of Influence• Purpose • Choose your reaction• Knowledge • To follow direction or not• Personal history • Relationships/Networks• Faith in self • Communicate• Speak truth to power • Organize others• Set/Model Standards • Withdraw Support Adapted from: Ira Challeff, The Courageous Follower
    66. 66. ”I am not so much rejecting the distinctionbetween leadership and management, butI am saying that the best leaders andmanagers do something that might bemost properly called a mix of leadershipand management.”