Posted on July 3, 2011.
Amy Affelt, Chair of SLA PR Advisory Council and SLA Alignment Ambassador, Illinois Chapter, Business & Finance and Leadership & Management Divisions
Being Future Ready certainly requires us be nimble and quick…and to maybe even jump over a candlestick. In a corporate information environment, Future Ready really is, as SLA President Cindy Romaine has described, “an attitude–to be more adaptable and flexible.” That nimbleness and quickness means that we need to respond to requestors’ needs with value-added information deliverables whenever and wherever they are needed, and although it can seem inconvenient, oftentimes this is outside the hours of the traditional workday.
We bring value when we address and fill stakeholders’ information gaps and pain points, and these gaps and pain points become more pronounced in emergent situations. It may require additional staffing, staggered scheduling, or a willingness on the part of information professionals to answer urgent requests that are sent via Blackberry at times when we are “off the clock.” But it is at those times, when we receive that “3 a.m. phone call” (hat tip Hillary Clinton), that the importance of having information professionals at the ready becomes most apparent.
It is a cliché that those who survive are not the smartest or fastest but those most adaptable to change, but in an era where budgets are slashed and every department is being scrutinized, it is imperative that information professionals adapt to changing work environments and changing stakeholder needs. We need to be up for what will be the biggest challenge of our careers—the Challenge to Change. We are at our most valuable when we bring stellar research skills to the exact moment of requestor need. We need to meet that challenge by mapping out team staffing pathways to make that happen.
Amy Affelt is Director of Database Research at Compass Lexecon, where she creates information and knowledge deliverables for PhD economists who testify in litigation. She is also a writer and speaker on issues of interest to the information industry such as evaluating information integrity and quality, adding value to information, and marketing of information services. She was awarded a 2011 SLA Presidential Citation for her leadership and work on the Future Ready Toolkit.
Posted in 365
Posted on April 20, 2011.
by Michael Haynes
As a consultant who works with organisations to improve their performance, I can definitely say that I am in total agreement with the four key components required for future readiness.
Collaboration: It is imperative now that all elements within the value chain (companies, customers, suppliers) work together to deliver the products and services that are being sought after. The ability to effectively develop and deliver sought after offerings is often best achieved through such efforts. As a result, many organisations are starting to do this with their product development. Boeing is an example that quickly comes to mind. Given the added complexity, cost and risk of developing and delivering products and services…this will really need to continue to be the way forward.
Adaptable Skills: Also another imperative that must be met. The way business is being conducted is constantly changing. Hence a much broader and deeper skill set is required in many areas of business. Marketing and Sales are two examples. Both now require a data driven analytical and strategic skill set. The distinctions between various functional areas of business are becoming more and more blurred. Again referring to marketing for instance, today and future marketers need to have solid foundations in marketing, strategy, finance and even IT and statistics. With the heavy emphasis on technology and information (and the increasing sophistication of both) moving forward, continued adaptability and expansion of skills will be critical for both one’s survival and success.
Alignment: Establishing alignment both within organisations as well as among other members of the value/supply chain is critical. Gaining internal alignment is often quite a daunting and challenging task for many large corporations. Senior leaders in the organisation must spearhead and drive this. Unfortunately all too often there is difficulty in gaining alignment to meet common objectives. I suspect this is due to the various internal agendas which exist.
Community: Again given the added complexity that now exists given technology, establishing a community among those with common goals and interests is going to be key to success. They will be able to pull their skills and resources together (ie collaborate) to achieve the desired objectives. I think a “win win” attitude must be adopted more within the business setting to allow more progress and achievement to occur moving forward.
Michael Haynes is Director of 2Excell Consulting, an international firm that positions B2B organisations to maximise their bottom line performance by empowering them to systematically understand and respond to customer needs. He has over 14 years experience in the areas of customer insights, strategy development and execution working for large corporations in various industries including automotive, financial services and telecommunications in Australia, Brazil and Canada. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted in 365
Posted on January 22, 2011.
by Kendra Levine, San Francisco Bay Chapter
Librarians as a profession seem deeply worried about the future. That concern is comforting in that it’s clear we are forward thinking, but at times it also verges on the absurd. Some, in attempt to not appear complacent or unwilling to adapt, love wagging their fingers and constantly re-branding themselves (and the rest of the profession) to appear relevant. It’s a lot of posturing and I’m not convinced entirely productive, though it probably makes people feel like they’re doing something.
The meaning is lost in the message. What is at the heart of it is this: The world is changing. Change is inevitable. It didn’t start with computers and it won’t end with the semantic web. The key to being Future Ready is to be flexible and adaptable, keeping an eye on the horizon but also one on the direct road ahead. How can you set yourself to be better today and years from now? That’s what we need to focus on, as well as recognizing that there is no single solution.
One of the qualities I value in SLA is the diversity of its membership. We work for many different organizations, fulfilling several roles. Together we learn, evolve, and grow, while directly benefiting our organizations and ourselves. To keep this up, we need to limber up and have fun. Moving forward, the key to success will not lay staying on top of the lingo but re-evaluating our roles and communicating with our stakeholders to better serve them and ourselves. Nothing fancy about that.
Kendra Levine is a member of multiple divisions and caucuses within SLA. She was most recently Secretary of the Academic division. She is a Reference Librarian, at the Institute of Transportation Studies Library, part of the University of California at Berkeley.
Posted in 365