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Lessons from Learners

"Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier."
—Charles F. Kettering*

Learning and teaching go hand in hand. Recently I taught “Promote, Inform, Educate: Creating Effective Materials for Your Library Community,” one of a series of courses on communications I’ve created for Infopeople. Although my official role was to be a learning facilitator for participants, I learned some lessons too. In fact, I think many of us involved with the course learned things that weren’t on the official agenda, things that apply to the workplace as much as the classroom.

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Why Nations Fail

My mother, who knows about the work I do in libraries around culture change to produce vibrant organizations, sent me an article from the New York Times Magazine online called “Why Some Countries Go Bust” (http://tinyurl.com/79vylps). The article reviews a new book by Turkish M.I.T. professor Daron Acemoglu and his collaborator James Robinson called “Why Nations Fail,” What seems obvious to me is that the principles they present apply not only to nations but to organizations, as well. As the author of the NY Times article says,

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The Difference Between Creativity and Innovation

In my Edgy Librarian webinar on Culture Shift in Libraries, I asked the question “Does it feel like, all of a sudden, everyone is talking about the need to be creative and innovative?”  Most of the people on the webinar responded “yes.”  Much of the webinar covered why this is so, and what to do about it.  What I didn’t get a chance to do was really get into what it means to be creative and innovative.

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The Next Great Evolutionary Leap

One of my Applied Improvisation colleagues sent me to a Harvard Business Review article by Tony Schwartz called "Why Don't We Act in Our Own Best Interest" which mirrors a conversation I've been having with many.  It relates directly to my previous three blog posts on creating a culture of “yes” and the value of practicing the skills of Improvisation.

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An Answer to a Question is More Than "Yes" or "No"

In groups, people often approach suggestions as if the response needs to be a “yes” or a “no”.  Alright, we know that “maybe” is also an option but that’s really a show stopper without more conversation.  I’m wondering if now more than ever, the problem is that people are so stressed for time that the uncertainty involved in anything other than “yes” or “no” is unbearable.  I can imagine people sitting in meetings with their inner voice saying, ” Please no, we can’t spend more time on this.  Just decide!”

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What Does it Mean to Have an Organizational Culture of “Yes”

In my last blog post, I asked the question  “What would happen if your organizational culture was one of “yes”?  I imagined that some people reading the post thought something like “She’s crazy!  If we say “yes” to anything more, we’ll explode.”  Indeed, libraries already do so many things for so many people that adding more, probably won’t work.  I’d like to clarify what I mean by creating a culture of “yes.”

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