23 June 2009

Notes from SLA2009/Colin Powell & Solo Diversity Session

It was a wonderful conference. I attended lots of sessions, but only took notes on two. Here they are.

BTW: This was my last SLA Conference. I have to draw the line somewhere--so I don't continue to volunteer for things. (I'm now archivist for Solo and List and Wiki Mistress for the Retired Members Caucus. Neither requires my presence at conferences.)

Keynote: General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.), Sunday, 14 June
He spoke for about 45 minutes with NO notes at all; no ums, hums, ers, or ands.
Success=preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
This is a new age; we have to change the brainware.
We have to move at the speed of light; faster than anyone else.
It’s a transactional world; we must update at every transaction (not daily, weekly, whatever).
Book recommendation: Shirky, Clay, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, New York: Penguin Press, 2008, ISBN-10: 1594201536, US$24.95.
He is a consultant to Google (among other companies).
“I’m analog. I got a $59 converter and now I’m digital.” His 14-year-old grandson was hardwired digital.
What does he miss most from the State Department? His own plane (a 757), his honor guard presenting him with a Diet Coke on a silver tray. “It was cool.”
“The world is flattening; we have to compete in that world.” Security makes it too hard for foreign students to come to our universities.
“No terrorist can change our free, open society—only we can do it to ourselves.”
On leadership:
“Everything I learned about leadership was at infantry training at Fort Benning.”
“The followers get the work done!” Never forget that.
As a leader, ‘you have to give them a purpose” so they understand. Be passionate, infectious.
Leaders have to invest in people; give them support and what they need.
Congratulate followers. People thrive when you show them their worth to you.
You must also punish or reprimand and “prune the organization.”
“You’ll know when you’re a good leader when your troops follow you—if only out of curiosity.”
They’ll see you’re ready—they trust you. “Trust is the essence of success in an organization.”
“The human connection is essential.”

Diversity in Leadership: Generation X—The Changing Paradigm in a Knowledge-based Society, Julius Jefferson, Jr., Library of Congress, sponsored by the Solo Librarians Division
Although not a solo librarian, he was a solo child and is a drummer (who really solo when they play a solo). Good speaker, well-constructed speech.
The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I." They don't think "I." They think "we"; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001.
Gen Xers create their own world without boundaries.
Gen Xers are independent; don’t like (or need) to be managed, especially micromanaged.
Words to describe Millennials (another name for Gen X): consensus, ambient intimacy, flexibility, worklife integration (not just worklife balance).
Big no-no: comparing a Gen X professional to your child.
Is there succession planning? Are the managers mentoring or grooming the next generation? Especially in the institutional knowledge they need to know.
Leadership and the paradigm shift
Shift from top down to horizontal leadership.
Leadership: inspiration, trust, advocacy, education, coaching, vision, and courage. Be unafraid to teach. We need leaders at all levels of the organization.
“Management must encourage us—every day!” this is especially true of NextGens.
Solos must inspire ourselves, advocate for ourselves.
“I can’t think of a better time to be a librarian than now.”
Collaboration is critical to success; we may see manager chosen not on seniority but on their ability to lead.
Branding: what do we offer to people? Take from all generations to improve the library, services, and products.
Finally, remember, “leadership is all about ‘We.’”

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