Leadership Summit: Readying for the Climb #2


This is post #2 in a short series to ready us (channel training….) for the #Summitclimb.

Future-proofing considerations.

Post #1 gave an article that poses some difficult questions leaders must address as they #futureproof their libraries in the digital environment. What Jane wants from this Library Leaders Summit, and I fully agree with, is that the Summit focus more on coaching than on presentations: coaches tell it like it is – and set the bar realistically and high. Sometimes people don’t like what the coach has to say. But a good coach is readying individuals for future moments – future endeavours.

Three respected leaders in the library sector will help kick-start the dialogue regarding future-proofing our organizations: Mary Ann Mavrinac, Gina Millsap, and Mary Lee Kennedy. In the January/February Computers in Libraries we asked them to comment on strategies entrepreneurs use to future-proof their organizations. Read their insights.

Then take these questions to your leadership team, or reflect on them yourself.

Entrepreneur November 2015 proposed 5 ways to future-proof an organization:

“Think partnerships, not transactions”; use partnerships to scale initiatives more quickly. “Change how you’re structured”; go flatter with smaller teams. “Think bigger”; impact more people with solutions to bigger problems. “Offer experience, not product”; distinguish your organization by delighting people. “Help Millennials develop”; formally mentor the next generation. In post #3: what’s the rock libraries deal with – or must deal with?

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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

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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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LJ Movers & Shakers @ CIL 2010


Library Journal M & S 2010

Congratulations to all Library Journals Movers & Shakers! If you would like to meet and see some of them in action, join us at Information Today’s Computers in Libraries 2010, Apr 12-14 in the DC area. As speakers we have Gretchen Caserotti, Matt Hamilton, Jason Puckett, Maurice Coleman, Lisa Carlucci Thomas. Apologies to others I may have missed but I’m sure there will be lots of other Movers & Shakers from the class of 2010 at Computers in Libraries and I know there will be many from previous years! So come and network with them.

Bobbi Newman’s post pointed me to all these wonderful people this morning and provides links to more info about them. I also love the post from one of last year’s Movers & Shakers, Lori Reed, on how to be prepared for this award. Lori and Bobbi will also be at CIL2010. Join us!

Happy Holidays & All the Best in 2010!


It’s amazing how fast a year goes by and how much we cram into 365 days. Hope everyone has a great holiday season and a terrific year in 2010! At this time of year, I always look ahead to what’s to come, and 2010 looks like it’s shaping up to be exciting. Here’s a peek —

Ontario Library Association SuperConference, Feb 24-27

Rebecca and I are facilitating a pre-conference workshop on Wed Feb 24 — Leadership Renewal: Conversations, Insights & Revitalization (P004) which includes segments with Cindy Ross Pedersen, Strategic Volunteer & Entrepreneur, Ken Haycock, Director, San Jose State University School of Libary & information Science & Senior Partner, Ken Haycock & Associates Inc. and Gordon Vala-Webb, PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada PLC. This interactive workshop should provide lots of wonderful conversations and insights. Rebecca is speaking about Resolving Conflict – Reaching Consensus (317) on Thurs Feb 25 and Service Lifecycle Management: Pruning Gives Other Services Room to Grow (1228) on Friday Feb 26. We have also put together a session on Thurs Feb 25 called Digital Strategies: Practices & Services (1021) which features Aaron Schmidt, District of Columbia Public Library, Amanda Etches Johnson, McMaster University and Daniel Lee, Navigator Ltd. We hope to see lots of our friends and colleagues in Toronto at SuperConference!

Computers in Libraries, DC, April 12-14

This vibrant conference is filled sessions on topics of interest to all those in the information business. Check out the program and join us for stimulating discussions, lots of learning and networking,

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Leaders can only lead others when they can lead themselves


I’ve been setting aside a pile of blog posts, particularly on leadership, that I’m now ready to write. There’s so much written on leadership, it’s rather daunting to know what to read, or who to read. We can never go wrong with Drucker or Mintzberg or those published with Harvard (you all know by now what a groupie I am of the Harvard Business Review — is there a support group for us?) In fact, HBR has just put out their “10 most read leadership articles” – if you read nothing else, do check these articles out. Even to scan.

But I always like to ask senior executives what has made a difference for them in their leadership approaches. A friend who has been a senior executive for the past decade, & who has dealt successfully with unbelievably challenging situations (I say successfully because, #1, he’s still employed &, believe me, the organization he works for doesn’t tolerate incompetence, and #2, employees he works with – LEADS – like & respect him. ) He suggested I read “The Inward Journey of Leadership,” in the Journal of Surgical Research, April 2006. After some digging – & paying – I found it. And now, I pass his suggestion on to any of you who are in a leadership position (even if that means you have 1 person looking to you for leadership), or are considering moving into a team leadership, project leadership or functional leadership role.

Written by a surgeon who heads

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Leaders making a difference & laughing – yeah, laughing


Too often we associate “leadership” with being in a senior management position, making big decisions & big salaries. Oh, we quote Gandi & Mandela, but in the work context we all too look to the CEO’s of corporations for leadership lessons.

Yet the simple truth is that leaders are those who lead people to make a difference – we hope a positive difference! And the other simple truth is that leaders are able to lead others because they can lead themselves.

Cindy Ross Pederson

Cindy Ross Pederson is a leader who leads herself and others in making a difference – a positive difference. Jane always knows the coolest people; she introduced me to Cindy, whom I met in a coffee shop prior to a client meeting. I was immediately struck by her presence – she conveys presence. Years ago when Mary Corcoran & I interviewed senior executives about the qualities they seek when filling senior positions they cited “presence — an individual has to have presence at senior decision tables & when they walk in the room.” Enter Cindy – with her presence, her ability to communicate clearly, succinctly, & in the language of the listener.

Having built a highly successful technology company Cindy sold it for a profit that allows her to shift her focus to being a “strategic volunteer.” In her former role as entreprenuer CEO Cindy dealt successfully with investors, bankers, employees at all levels, clients, partners & stakeholders. She had a clear focus, & used

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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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Smithsonian Web & New Media Strategy


Further to my recent post on Transparency, Strategy & Success where I linked to Michael Edson‘s talk on the Smithsonian’s transparency strategy process, the Smithsonian Institution has relased its web and new media strategy.

“The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their “lifelong learning journeys,” and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities.” Check out Edson’s post for more about the transparent process and to see more details of SI’s web & new media strategy.