Howdy from the beautiful Rocky Mountains! The Rocky Mountain chapter of SLA is thrilled to contribute this week’s FutureReady365 posts. We are a small, diverse community of 150+ members spread across a four-state region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota). We have a medley of posts from public school, government, higher education and independent professionals that we hope will prompt conversations, comments and thoughts on being future ready. Happy reading!
by Ellen Naylor, Rocky Mountain Chapter, Competitive Intelligence Division
These days there is lots of talk about collaboration. I’m a believer as all my best ideas come from engaging in life’s experiences by listening, learning and discussing with others; and reading constantly.
This is how I developed cooperative intelligence www.thecisource.com/coopintel in 2004. I learned that many in competitive intelligence, my professional angle, are frustrated since their ideas and insight either don’t get shared with decision-makers or are ignored. We often blame management for this behavior, when it’s up to us to be heard and listened to. You need to figure out how to earn the respect of managers individually—and over time they will listen and engage.
The core attitude is cooperation, in that you show a willingness to give to others without expecting something in return. There are 3 interrelated behaviors in cooperative intelligence: Leadership, Connection and Communication.
Cooperative Leadership: While info pros and librarians usually don’t hold traditional leadership positions, we can be leaders by doing excellent work, which contains a proactive, future looking element. It is easy for us to become mired in the reactive detail of projects.
Likewise, we need to stand up for what we believe. Sometimes we are asked to research topics or use research methodologies which we think are unethical, and we have to say NO! We also need to share information and analysis that our management won’t like. It’s our job, and cooperatively we can gently, but firmly share what we learn.
Cooperative Connection: Cooperative connectors value everyone we meet. We make a point of making people feel important by listening and staying in touch. We make the person we are speaking to feel like s/he is the only person that matters, even when surrounded by hundreds at the SLA Annual Conference, for example!
Cooperative connectors share specific information only with those who might value it. Sharing with those who don’t care is rude. Take the time to identify who will appreciate what you produce. Cooperative connectors also keep their contacts up to date and add new people to their distribution lists in the areas they value.
Cooperative Communication: One way to be a cooperative communicator is to be a good listener, to observe, engage and ask good questions. Notice what people choose not to share or when their body action doesn’t jive with their words. Librarians are trained to be good listeners so have a competitive advantage over most other professions. However, do we project a cooperative attitude? Take the next step and find out how out how your customers want to be communicated with, their areas of need as well as their expertise. In our quest to be helpful, we often forget that people like to be asked about what they know.
Help your company be future ready by sharing your knowledge cooperatively. Your management team needs your insight, and you need to figure out how to reach them cooperatively!
Ellen Naylor is the owner of The Business Intelligence Source (http://www.thecisource.com). Read more of her insights at http://cooperativeintelligenceblog.com. She is a member of the Rocky Mountain SLA team.
Note: This blog builds on Ellen’s January FR blog.