The Reluctant Intrapreneur: becoming the info center CEO


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Special librarians have always managed information centers within larger organizations, but we don’t always see ourselves as business owners. Mary Ellen Bates gives you the tools to think like an internal entrepreneur, negotiate painlessly, stay customer-driven, and use “un-marketing” techniques to communicate effectively with your clients.

This presentation was given at the 2014 SLA Annual Conference, June 8, Vancouver, BC

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The Reluctant Intrapreneur: becoming the info center CEO

  1. 1. The Reluctant INTRApreneur Mary Ellen Bates June 12, 2016
  2. 2. @mebs Tweeting this? #SLA2016 @mebs 2
  3. 3. @mebs An intrapreneur’s tool kit Entrepreneurial mindset Your key clients & services Entrepreneurial language 3
  4. 4. 4 Jessica Hagy is very funny. See for these and other fun graphics.
  5. 5. @mebs Thinking like an entrepreneur Ask “why?” Curious, question the status quo Ask “why not?” Ask forgiveness, not permission 5
  6. 6. @mebs Service & client mindset They’re not always right, but they’re our clients Future-focused Proactive, not reactive 6 Thinking like an entrepreneur
  7. 7. @mebs Create, seek out opportunities Fail fast, fail often Learn from every experience Live at the edge of your comfort zone 7 Thinking like an entrepreneur
  8. 8. @mebs Complaining Problem-solving mindset Results-oriented “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard”. –Guy Kawasaki 8 Thinking like an entrepreneur
  9. 9. @mebs Are you seen as overhead? … or involved in your org’s strategic goals 9 Thinking like an entrepreneur
  10. 10. @mebs Are you making a difference to your clients? How are you more valuable than your competitors? 10 Thinking like an entrepreneur
  11. 11. @mebs Are you frictionless? How easy is it to find you? How easy is it to talk with you? How responsive do your clients say you are? Have you asked them lately? 11
  12. 12. @mebs ASK for complaints Did you get what you needed? How easy was it to use? What would make it more useful? 12
  13. 13. @mebs Who are your competitors? What else do users rely on? How do they access information? Are you as easy as their smart phone? How can you compete? 13
  14. 14. @mebs Who are your key clients? C-suite or equivalent Special projects teams Strategic planning, new initiatives Value-creators, revenue-generators Product development, major gifts officer, practice group leader… 14
  15. 15. @mebs Are you client-driven? Are you creating new info-pain solutions? or are you just keeping up with requests? Collaborate more, rip-n-ship less 15
  16. 16. @mebs We love ALL our clients, but… Triage the important from the urgent Is this the best use of your time? Do an annual 20/20 Review Turn lowest-value 20% to self-serve Enhance value for highest-value 20% 16
  17. 17. @mebs Purge your assumptions buffer What is most valuable now? What should you retire? Who is doing interesting things? What’s the scariest thing you could do next? 17
  18. 18. @mebs Offering greater value Good information isn’t enough (TL;DR) Provide answers Tell a story, with pictures! 18
  19. 19. @mebs What they really value Senior executives Reduce risk, better decisions Knowledge workers/analysts Better info, better answers Sales staff, interns, “learning users” Quicker, better answers 19
  20. 20. @mebs Show higher value Create library of deliverable templates Polished, user-friendly, distilled Offer insights, narratives Provide decision-ready deliverables 20
  21. 21. @mebs Explore the questions they didn’t ask Request: I need info on hackers getting into cars’ onboard computers 21
  22. 22. @mebs Explore the questions they didn’t ask What geographic region? What companies are mentioned? Who is writing about it? Who’s being quoted? Was this one-time or ongoing? 22
  23. 23. @mebs 2016 Info Landscape Google is great All searchers are above average Free is good Too much info is bad 23
  24. 24. @mebs How do we respond? Are you choosing the best tool? Are you finding answers or just info? Can we get you better answers? Do you know when to bring in a pro? 24
  25. 25. @mebs Dare to compare! ID a group that doesn’t use the library Show them a better web search Show them what else you offer Faster, easier, tangibly better Monitor results 25
  26. 26. @mebs Open their eyes... Show them the best search tools Open web: Beyond Google’s first page of results Social media: power searching Premium search services 26
  27. 27. 27 How to communicate this?
  28. 28. @mebs Are you counting what matters? Activity metrics Econtent usage, # of research requests Useful for administration BORING…… 28
  29. 29. @mebs Results metrics Patents awarded, clients won, awards received… Don’t know your impact? ASK! 29 Are you counting what matters?
  30. 30. @mebs Know what an hour costs $100k salary = $72/hour (fully loaded) Minutes add up 6-member team saves 1 hour/member/week = $20k/year 30
  31. 31. @mebs Own your expertise! Library studies consistently show ROI of 4:1 Info pros take 1/3 the time to search Info pros use more search terms Info pros go to page 2 of search results 31
  32. 32. @mebs Create meaningful KPIs Cost-effectiveness Cost of services / org’s total revenue Cost of resource / circulation 32
  33. 33. @mebs Meaningful KPIs Impact on organization Effective engagement with faculty to support students’ information skills Effective outreach to stakeholders, resulting in {action on stakeholder’s part} 33
  34. 34. @mebs Meaningful KPIs Impact on revenue % of product teams partnered with # of regulatory approvals involved in Improved product-to-market delivery time 34
  35. 35. @mebs As an (internal) entrepreneur, you… leverage financial resources through strategic info acquisitions enable smart risk-taking ensure better-informed decisions 35
  36. 36. @mebs Free Dow Jones white papers The True ROI of Digital Content The Accidental Intrapreneur 36
  37. 37. @mebs Mary Ellen Bates Reluctant– Twitter: @mebs Slides: 37