by Jan Chindlund, Illinois Chapter, Academic, Museums, Arts & Humanities, B&F, LM Divisions
“Yes, I was invited.”
Think back to times in your career (in both your employment and your volunteer work) when you were personally invited to join the team, join the organization, write an article or post, render an opinion, edit a document, brainstorm, manage a project, research a complex issue, or lead.
✓How did the invitation make you feel?
✓What did you think when you were invited?
✓How did you respond to the invitation?
We’ve all heard Victor Hugo’s “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” True. And perhaps, there is no connection more persuasive than the personal invitation.
Recognizing a spark, talent or skill in another person and then inviting them to be involved honors the invitee and inspires them to get involved.
To be “Future Ready” has so many facets: strategic, critical and systems thinking; embracing technology; acquiring and applying knowledge; being politically astute; being nimble, flexible and adaptable; recognizing opportunities; and the list goes on. All important and essential.
Add to that mix: practicing the art of personal invitation. Establishing relationships is the key to gaining insight into situations and opening doors to opportunities to learn and to become involved. Personal invitations are a way to initiate and strengthen relationships.
In this era of high tech, the personal invitation can satisfy our need for high touch.
Seek ways to invite others…and to be invited.
In association volunteer work
When asked to lead, I invite a co-chair to work alongside me. At this point, I invite someone newer to our profession. So we can co-mentor each other. I might contribute knowledge about the organization or work at hand, the other person might contribute technical know-how or insights into how today’s audiences or clientele will respond to messages.
I have been in groups of SLA members when the question was asked, “Who has been hired because of their connection with SLA?” The majority of hands shoot up…every time! Well, think back, how did you get involved in SLA? Did someone invite you to join or to be on a committee or to speak?
✓ I attended my first SLA meeting because I was personally invited.
✓ I joined my first chapter committee because I was personally invited.
✓ I ran for office in a division because I was personally invited.
✓ I ran for office in our chapter because I was personally invited.
✓ I wrote this post because I was personally invited.
How did you hear about that job? Did an SLA colleague inform you about the position, invite you to apply, recommend you?
SLA’s “Connecting People and Information” could be expanded to “Connecting People and Information, Expanding Information to Knowledge & Connecting People to People.” The cross-pollination of what is learned in SLA, and the connections made there, with our professional work is the penultimate value of belonging.
Personally invite others to join and to become involved.
In the workplace
Larry Prusak referred to “ground truth” as one source of wisdom in his presentation at SLA 2011. That resonated with me. Inviting those who are “on the ground” to share their insights is not only good business, but it provides valuable knowledge that can be used to make better decisions. In our professional life, this can provide new knowledge and connections, improving the richness and the quality of the work we produce and the wisdom upon which we make decisions.
Personally invite those “on the ground” to share their “ground truth”
As Kevin Kelly so aptly put it, “The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.” The human attention given through personal invitation is very compelling indeed.
“Yes, I was invited.”
Jan Chindlund has been Library Director, Columbia College Chicago, since September 2007. Previously she was Manager of McDonald’s Corporation Global Consumer and Business Insights Information Center and Assistant Vice President & Head Librarian, Duff & Phelps. Jan holds MLIS from Dominican University and MBA from Benedictine University. She has served in various roles at the chapter, division and association levels of SLA, currently Co-Chair of Local Arrangements for SLA 2012 to be held in Chicago July 15-18, 2012. Recipient of the Dow Jones Leadership Award and the Rose L Vormelker Award, she is SLA Fellow and extremely grateful for the learning, advocacy and networking SLA makes available to members.