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The PLA Blog | Official Blog of the Public Library Association

Day 1: OCLC Leadership Symposium

OCLC Symposium–New Leadership for New ChallengesTo prepare the crowd for discussing change, an OCLC representative issued clickers at the door. These small electronic devices allowed symposium attendees to vote on the fly for answers to survey questions displayed on the large board. The OCLC representative joked that the crowd went for the “safe” answers of “all of the above” or “some combination of the two” rather than daring to trudge out on their own and pick an answer that might be controversial.The first speaker, Leslie Crutchfield author of the book “Forces for Good” was introduced and proceeded to highlight six facets that make non-profit organizations truly great.

  1. Advocate AND Serve–it’s one thing to sing the praises of a particular philosophy but an effective leaders must actually adhere to that philosophy. Basically it’s a fancy way of saying “practice what you preach.”
  2. Make markets work
  3. Inspire evangelists–Engage and use your organization’s biggest cheerleaders. Let them market your value through storytelling
  4. Nurture nonprofit networks–collaboration vs. competition
  5. Master the art of adaptation–Darwin said it’s not the strongest or smartest that survive, but those that adapt. How does one adapt? Listen to the environment, experiment and innovate, evaluate/learn what works, modify your programs and plans.
  6. Share leadership

The second speaker, Dr. Rush Miller–author of “Beyond Survival: Managing Academic Libraries in Transition”–was introduced and recounted a story of how he’s considered a “library prophet” in Japan because of a verbal interview he gave one day to a japanese visitor. The interview ended up being published, so he was often invited to keynote Japanese library conferences because of it.Some choice nuggets from Miller’s speech:

  • “Perfection in terms of management is not about structuring or hierarchies. It’s all about change management.”
  • “We cannot just CLAIM value (letter to editor, marketing pieces, etc.) we have to BE valuable (storytelling)”
  • “Good leaders to not micro-manage and do not know everything that goes on in their libraries.”
  • “Organizational culture will trump organizational structure every time. Is the culture focused on accessibility? user-centeredness? freedom to change?”
  • “A library’s mission is not about books–never was. But it’s also not about information. It is about people connecting people to resources of all kinds needed for learning and critical thinking and (hopefully) knowledge.”

Comment Pages

There are 1 Comments to "Day 1: OCLC Leadership Symposium"

  • Tamara says:

    I like the idea of “change” management. The most stressful but forward-focused thing we can do as an organization is change. Recognizing that stress and managing for smooth transitions is necessary for every organization – and for everyone’s sanity.

 

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