How we’ll work in the future in both “chair space” & “air space”


I’m always looking for articles, writings, & ideas about how we’ll work in the future. Not just the type of work that we’ll be doing, but the environment in which we’ll be working too. The how we’ll work is pretty heavily inter-related with the where we’ll work & who’ll we’ll work with (be they clients/patrons or colleagues). I’m one of those who strongly believes that the workplace (which will be as much as “chair space” as an “air space” — meaning a physical & vi

rtual space) will be increasingly flexible & collaborative both in terms of the organization chart and the physical layout.

FastCompany features “How We’ll Work in 2025” by Cliff Kuang complete with fabulous photos of different neighbourhoods within a building that will support different types of work; need quiet time? There’s a pod for you…… working on a group project – and one of the group is across town or across timezones? there’s a grouproom with screen/cam/connections for you.

Kuang talks about the transparency of this this type of glassed building for a bank, to allow the clients to “fully experience the business.” Now we need to imagine this type of space supporting the way we need to work in libraries, with lots of glass & “neighbourhoods” within the library allowing users to “fully experience the library” and staff to “fully experience the library & all that IT and THEY can be.”

Stop Whining, please – I can’t hear the people who are trying to move things forward over you

Margaret Heffernan is a woman who knows her way around information Internet environment organizations. She’s not a noted author, particularly for women entrepreneurs, and is Executive in Residence at Babson College.

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“Succession” is developing to succeed


The HBR Management Tip of the Day today is from Marshall Goldsmith (author of What Got you Here Won’t Get You There — must reading) about succession planning – a hot topic in the information profession. I’ve always referred to the need for succession “management”, but Goldsmith refers to succession “development”, & he’s right. Managing an organization’s succession does have to be a whole process which must be managed, & the emphasis really is on people’s development to enable them to “succeed” in every sense of the word.

Here’s an inter-mingling of Goldsmith’s & our tips for succession development & management; much of our experience has been guided by Rothwell’s Effective Succession Planning.

1. Determine Future Requirements: Recognize that strategic planning, staff planning, & succession management are all inter-related & highly dependent; you can’t move forward (strategic plan) without the right capabilities, competencies (staff planning) & management (succession management). PLUS – how can you determine staffing & leadership needs Call it what it is: succession management or succession development – it doesn’t matter which, just don’t call it succession planning, since the focus shouldn’t be on the plan, it should be on how the organization is ensuring ongoing leadership, management, capabilities & success.

2. Commit: Senior management or the board must buy in to the overall process be supportive of it as on-going, not a one-time “here’s the slide deck” event.

3. Assess Current Requirements & Skills: As with anything, start with where you are – know what you have

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Emerging Tech & the Future of Biz


“Adopting technologies without a strategy results in wasted time & effort”. How many times have you said this? Check out KMWorld 2009 keynote speaker Charlene Li‘s slides. Some great tips. Her theme, “the future of business requires a holistic approach to adopting and integrating emerging technologies” is the same message Rebecca and I use with our clients — Organizations have to have a big detailed picture of where they are going before the strategies to get there can be put in place. And that’s way before technology, people and other structures are put in place.

I love Charlene’s slide of 4 focus areas surrounding the client: enterprise strategy, customer strategy, leadership & management, innovation & practices. Her tips, which I think apply more broadly than just tech planning:

* Leaders must let go of control but not relinquish command, create sandbox convenants to allow risk taking, creat a culture of sharing & model it

* organizations must connect to customers on their own terms, develop internal processes to connect with customers in real time, integrate the customer voice across the whole enterprise

* enterprises must allow all units to pilot new technologies & processes, design process scenarios around user roles, invest in innovation

* to innovate, organizations must fail fast & fail smart, inject fresh external thinking, enable safe places where mistakes and learning is encouraged.

I am sure you will enjoy her presentation on Wednesday November 18 in San Jose at KMWorld 2009. In the meantime, on the KMWorld

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Workshifting: work is where you are


I just watched Citrix’s webinar that they co-hosted with and on “Thinking Outside the Cubicle: The Evolving 21st-Century Virtual Office”. It certainly wasn’t a good webinar, but I did stick through most of it because I’m so hungry for anything that looks at how people are working, are going to be working and the organization implications of working from anywhere. My forecast is that in the next 5 years we won’t be searching for the right label for this (is it workshifting? working remotely? virtually? off-site? outa-sight?), because it will be so normal and built in to our work processes and organization norms. Telecommuting (yet another term) has increased 39% since 2007 in the US — and it will keep on growing. The best nugget out of this webinar was a quote from Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research, who says this evolvement “will force firms to expand their digital footprints, harness social software, crisply define their culture and examine their real estate and energy policies.”

Yep – and as the social software improves so that people can truly collaborate, seeing and hearing each other in such high-definition that they can sense when someone’s getting agitated, more organizations and more individuals will embrace working from wherever. Particularly as those employees born after 1985 come on board; organizations in which employees can work from anywhere realize that the most productive workplaces, especially for younger employees, isn’t about control — it’s about clear expectations, flexibility, respect, responsibility and

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The Corporate Library


Isn’t it interesting that as the Special Libraries Association, a 11,000+ member organization representing corporate, government, industry, medical, hospital, and legal libraries as well as other specialized libraries residing in larger institutions, discusses once again a possible name change to the 100 year old organization that a there is an organization called The Corporate Library. Out of Portland, ME, The Corporate Library is a 10 year old research firm that tracks corporate governance issues. Huh.

Finally! Growing number of organizations supporting telework

Tweet’s May 6th issue has a good couple of articles on teleworking or working virtual. The WorldatWork Survey shows that 42% of US firms and 40% of Cdn firms are now offering telework as a way to attract & retain employees. That’s up from 25% in Canada a year ago and 32% in the US. Good stuff. Now…..are organizations actually supporting employees in telework? Meaning….do they have the right equipment, objectives, protocals, management processes? Well….not really. An IDC Study shows that while organizations are equipping employees with lots of mobile devices, they have no mobile strategy — and that means they aren’t mobilizing key business applications. Securit, a Canadian records management firm, is doing some cutting edge work with RIM in bringing SAP CRM to the Blackberry — a key application for sales people. The real difference that organizations have to understand is that just because there’s wireless access doesn’t mean there’s mobile, ubiqitous (did I spell that correctly?), intuitive access to the application on mobile devices.

There’s another article on successful teleworking in which employees are excelling and engaged. The Canadian Telework Association has identified the 6 stages people experience:

One: I’m really excited about being able to work from home. Two: Freedom! I have fewer distractions, more flexibility, a greater sense of accomplishment. Three: Unfortunately a lot people – myself included – became telework junkies or teleworkaholics, and lost some of our work-life balance. Four: Possible burn out and frustration. Five: Lonely and isolated from co-workers and company.

Continue reading Finally! Growing number of organizations supporting telework

Made to Last: Celebrating 100 years


SLA is 100!

It must have been a very interesting world in 1909. Here are three immediate (to me) organizations celebrating their centennials. The Special Libraries Association, an organization representing 12,000+ librarians with specialized collections and services in corporations (law firms, banks, pharmaceuticals, manufacturers, hospitals, ettc) around the work, celebrates their centennial this year. The Toronto chapter of SLA is having a gala to celebrate next month — I’m very excited about attending. The association’s 100th annual conference is being held in June in DC (where SLA’s HQ has been for many years, including when I was President in 1995/6). Should be a great event starting off with keynote speaker Colin Powell.

And now we are into ice hockey NHL playoffs and the Montreal Canadiens are 100! Check out the many jerseys and logos from their past. I am not a Canadiens fan but I certainly respect their longevity and strength over the years. It will be interesting to see what’s in their future.

Leons is a furniture store in my area and it is 100 years old too. Quite a history. I was most impressed that the current CEO went across Canada celebrating with all the employees. Nice.

New Acting Law Librarian of Congress


Congratulations to Donna Scheeder on her new appointment as Acting Law Librarian of Congress. The Law Library of Congress is the largest law library in the world with over 50% of its collection in languages other than English. The Legal Reseearch Directorate advises the US Congress on foreign and comparative law. Here’s a recent interview with Donna that Mary Dee Ojala did about the Global Legal Information Network, GLIN, an international co-operative that is headquartered in the Law Library of Congress. The Law Library is the content owner of THOMAS, the database of congressional bills, documents and laws. Staff of the Law Library reading room remain available to Congress whenever they are in session.

Donna is also very active in her Capital Hill community and is currently the Chair of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee. The market will be moving back to its historic building in July following rehabilitation after a devastating fire in 2007. Donna will be receiving the Capitol Hill Achievement Award at a dinner benefiting the Capitol Hill Community Foundation on April 22, 2009.

Donna is very active in the library community. She is a past president of the Special Libraries Association, a former member of the Governing Board of International Federation of Libary Association and Institutions (IFLA), and on the advisory committees for Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian.

Grown Up Digital: Net Gen


Don Tapscott, keynote at FastForward09, built on an his earlier books, Growing Up Digital, Wikinomics, and others as he talked about how a new generation is driving an age of engagement which aligns with the conference theme: Engage Your User. He talked about his new book, Grown Up Digital, about how disagrees that the net generation or digital natives (also known as millenials and Gen Y) is the dumbest generation (especially check out out Don’s YouTube video on this site) , and about how this generation is a powerful force for change in our world. He gave lots of examples including a digital native who has a year’s worth of one week jobs, and a 6th grader who went after financing for his business Playspan. I loved how he talked about the net gen attitude: work=collaboration=learning=fun — that’s the kind of workplace we all should want to see. And also his caution to organizations who do not allow the use of social tools like Facebook to be accessed. Here’s something you can use if your organization is one of those: I won’t go onto Facebook during work time or on work computers if you don’t expect me to answer company emails after hours or on weekends. Nice! Check out more info about Don’s talk and book, and also here, on the FastForward Blog.