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Leadership Summit: Worth the Climb

I’ve been away from this blog for 18 months while I’ve focused on my role in the Branch services and operations of a busy, growing, incredible (if i may say so) #publiclibrary (@BramptonLibrary).  The opinions I have expressed and will express in this blog are purely mine.  I am honoured to work with some of the finest, intelligent individuals – and they may or may not agree with some of my perspectives (which is what makes them so fine and intelligent!).

It is time for me to start writing again as I increasingly consider the issues we in the library sector need to think deeply about – need to think critically about (with critical thinking not criticizing), engage in probing, provocative and perhaps disturbing dialogue, make decisions and take actions.  As she has so many times in the past, @jdysart has arranged a venue at which some of this thinking and dialogue can occur.  Library Leaders Summit: Future-Proofing Strategies & Tactics, held in conjunction with Computers in Libraries @CrystalCity in Arlington, VA, provides 2 days in which speakers, provocateurs and participants will  consider developments, experiences and questions that influence their library’s decisions and actions. Near-term and long-term decisions.

Getting to a ‘#summit’ is not easy.

Yep, it’s easy to actually come to this Leaders Summit. But the point I’m trying to make is for this venue to truly be a ‘summit’ people need to prepare in the same way they would to climb to any summit. Think about it. We climb hills or mountains to reach a summit. Some of us do it for the sheer exhilaration of the exercise and traversing tough terrain. Others of us do it to see different horizons and perspectives that can’t be seen from the usual roads or elevations. Whatever our driving force, if we haven’t prepared and don’t have the water, food and equipment to keep us going, we’ll never realize our desired result.

Information Today is the best at providing the equipment (wonderful rooms, tables, wifi, chairs, etc.), water and food to keep us climbing during the Summit. As facilitator I’ll do my best to keep our climb on track and motivating. Together the speakers and participants will create the engagement and encouragement to keep going – especially when the dialogues and topics get tough. And they will get tough. They must get tough. Otherwise we won’t reach the Summit – we won’t have the different views, insights and willingness to make decisions and take actions catalyzed by the climb.

Readying for the Summit.

Here’s an exercise to ready for the Summit or for future-proofing discussions at your library. Consider that the environment or terrain in which libraries exist is not a library environment; rather it is a much broader terrain. And it is an environment in which technology has significant implications and that is increasingly, a digital environment.  With this in mind, read McKinsey Quarterly’s,  “The Seven Decisions that Matter in a Digital Transformation”.  We’ll be considering 3 of the most challenging questions:

  1. Where should the library position itself in the digital ecosystem – or environment?  Think about this question in terms of the library’s position vis a vis other organizations?
  2. How do you decide on governance and escalation rules as your organization is implementing its strategies to allow for inevitable course corrections? In other words, just as form follows function — how is your library’s governance and ways of managing issues helping or hindering the library’s ability to move forward?
  3. How do you, or the leadership team, allocate resources rapidly and dynamically to implement various elements of the strategy – and tactics?
If you can’t attend the Summit, do join us as we prepare – and offer your insights regarding these questions & others that we’ll pose over the next week.

In post #2: future-proofing considerations

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