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.