Leaders Who Notice Make a Difference | Leading From the Library

Leadership | Academic libraries | Innovation | Trends

by Stephen Bell | Feb 21, 2019 from Library Journal

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Leaders can all too easily go through the paces on auto-pilot. Go to this meeting. Deal with that situation. Those leaders who are adept at taking notice of what’s less obvious are more likely to innovate.

The radio station I listen to during my morning routine has an occasional bit in which the program co-host becomes “The Noticer.” It’s a silly segment that features oddball news stories, puzzling consumer products, or otherwise absurd societal observations. While it makes for an entertaining diversion, it occurred to me how much of my own leadership revolves around noticing things. Most of what’s noticed, whether it’s about librarianship, higher education, or something altogether different, leads to nothing in particular. Every so often, however, just taking notice of something can have an impact on what we do and why we do it. It may lead to an innovation or waking up to a needed change. If you lead but fail to take notice of things that could make a difference for your library, perhaps becoming a Noticer would lead to new discoveries.

 

UNDERAPPRECIATED SKILL

When leadership books, seminars, and blogs point to the critical skills leaders need to succeed, noticing is rarely mentioned. It’s hardly surprising, as noticing is rarely recognized as a leadership skill. We should give it more attention. At best, leaders are advised to conduct environmental scans, to stay abreast of trends in their field or hobnob with other leaders to exchange those “what keeps you awake at night” issues. Noticing is somewhat different. Rather than a planned activity, it’s more of a spontaneous reaction to something read, heard, or observed. It might be the start of pattern recognition, but more likely it simply engages the gears of curiosity. Observing that students always sit on the floor in a particular corner of the library could lead to the introduction of soft seating. That’s a fairly straightforward example. Read more…

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Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, is the current vice president/president-elect of ACRL. For more from Steven visit his blogs, Kept-Up Academic Librarian, ACRLog and Designing Better Libraries or visit his website.

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How to Figure Out How Much Influence You Have at Work [HBR]

by Maxim Sytch | February 18, 2019

Informal leadership | Mentoring | Career advice |Success |Relationships |Impact

A banker in Southeast Asia wanted to allow employees of a car rental agency to buy used cars from the employer. But not a single business unit was able to put together that product. Different units were stopped either by the existing product portfolio, the underlying risk, or regulatory guidelines. One of the banker’s colleagues, however, was able to facilitate valuable introductions across the company. That led to the solution being co-designed and jointly offered by two business units.

Credit the success of this new financial product to the banker’s informal power. Informal power — which is unrelated to your formal title — can enable you to mobilize resources, drive change, and create value for the organization as well as yourself. And in the modern workplace, informal power is increasingly pivotal and can secure your place within your organization. Read more…

Student Success: Academic Librarianship’s New Holy Grail | From the Bell Tower

Student success | Academic libraries | Altmetrics | Leadership

by Steven Bell | Jan 09, 2019

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There is little debate in academic librarianship over our role in contributing to student success. The year ahead is likely to see more debate over what it should mean, how we demonstrate that contribution, and to what extent data is used to accomplish it.

For most of my academic library career the holy grail was collaboration with faculty. In addition to feeding a desire to gain some equal footing with faculty in contributing to student learning, those collaborative efforts brought a sense of purpose to my effort to help students learn. While connecting and building relationships with faculty is still critical to an individual liaison librarian’s success, my observation is that it is now somewhat secondary to the academic library’s collective ability to enable student success. Making that the focus of the academic library enterprise would certainly demonstrate support of what has emerged as the top priority of our institutions. In 2018, there was a clear sense of urgency around student retention and graduation—always a fundamental purpose of higher education, but heightened by an increase in at-promise student enrollment. If signs during the course of 2018 are an indicator, then the debate over how academic libraries do or do not contribute is sure to emerge as a major issue for 2019. Read article

The 5 Things All Great Salespeople Do

Marketing | Advocacy | Career advice

by Joseph Curtis | December 18, 2018

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The best salespeople know they’re the best. They take pride in their art form. They separate themselves from the rest of the pack regardless of circumstance. So how do they do it? What’s their secret? Are you one of them?

I’ve spent 16 years in technology sales, with most of that spent in sales leadership at Salesforce and other technology companies. I’ve had the luxury of observing great sales professionals in tech and beyond and have observed that the top performers share some of the same patterns, habits, and characteristics. I’ve distilled them down into five major categories and have begun integrating them into my work life — practicing them, honing them, teaching them. As a result, my teams have finished consistently at or near the top of the leaderboard year in and year out. Here’s what I’ve observed:

The best salespeople own everything. I used to give a speech to new salespeople, earlier in my career, titled the “It’s your fault speech.” It was very raw and full of overconfidence (chalk it up to leadership in your twenties) but the point was simple: Your success depends on you. The sales profession exists within a meritocracy. Statistically, it is not a coincidence that the same people are at the top of the leaderboard year in and year out. Some may think it’s because certain people have it easier, or are given this, or fall into that. We all have our starting points. Regardless, the most significant difference between perennial top performers and everyone else is attitude. Elite salespeople approach their goals with a total ownership mindset. Anything that happens to them, whether or not it was their doing, is controlled by them. It may not be their fault, but it is their responsibility. In the research, psychologists call this the internal locus of control. That’s a fancy way of saying that you think the power lies inside of you instead of externally. And you know what they found? Having an internal locus of control correlates with success at work, higher income, and greater health outcomes.

Read more…