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Socrates in the Library Manager's Office

How does a library leader manage him/herself when someone else is the library manager? That was the first part of the question posed to me by a colleague yesterday. How does the leader, in such a position, maintain that internal flame of creativity? How does such a leader lead in practical terms?

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Worried About Being Labeled a Negative Nelly?

“How does one correct imperfections without noting them, when noting them means being tagged as negative? “ was the question I recently discussed with one of my librarian contacts.  It’s a question that comes up a lot in my work these days with managers and their teams.  I realize that I have answers to that question that may help so  I thought I’d share.  I hope that one or more of them may help you if you find yourself worried about being labeled a Negative Nelly:

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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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Customer Service is a Team Sport

When somebody says “customer service” what comes to mind?

Is it a smiling person using open gestures and asking how they can help?  That’s where most people’s minds go.  What’s missing is all the things that happen behind the scenes.  Customer service starts long before and far away from the public service desk and involves almost everyone on staff.

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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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