Friday, January 17, 2014

Interview

Interview-sign

For the personal leadership plan I interviewed the CIO (B), Manager of Records and acting Manager of Information Delivery (M), and the Manager of the Library (A).

Planning

Question: “What do you feel the vision of the library of the future to be? How do you plan on meeting this vision?”

(B):”My vision is simple, which is the concept of, know thy customer. We should know our audience and anticipate their needs ahead of time. We need to be at the forefront of their information needs. I believe that by truly knowing your audience and being available to them, they don’t know what they don’t know and we can be there for them.”

(M):”Because the library is already primarily electronic, our collection that is, and we will still continue to have librarians, we will need to change the tools the libraries use to be more automated for our customers. Librarians will help sift through a lot of data in an easy and convenient way. Because budgets are going to impact us, we need to be smarter and change our current process to make sure we have the right tools necessary to provide to our customers”

(A):”Because our library is different than a traditional academic library, my vision for the library is that we’d be much more embedded throughout the organization and less than a team of librarians. I envision that different staff with have different expertise and knowledge. We would be working closer to projects and with our clients. We have some growing pains we are getting through and we have a long ways to go.”

Organization

Question: “How would you define our organizational culture? Formal/informal, open communication, people friend, bureaucratic, competitive among staff, trusting relationship with ourselves and with our patrons? What are our barriers that affect our culture?”

(B):”If we are formal in our culture it causes bureaucracy. Too much formality can be annoying to get work done. If we have a more informal culture it equals agility or agile behaviors. People are more willing and open to be flexible. This is something we need to fix. We don’t know what they need, we need to establish a good relationship with our customers. Our customers are the end-user, therefore we need to be very customer-centric.”

(M):”Our culture here in the library has long been established now. I don’t know if I have any influence. Where I think it is and where I think it should be is different. I’m new to this group so it is hard to be completely immersed in their culture. Having been in IT for 20 years we had a different culture than the rest of the lab. IT has been my family for quite a bit of time. We had a lot of activities in the evening, summer, and with our families. We had a very family atmosphere where we were constantly looking out for each other. It has changed recently and across the lab. We are taking on corporate America’s ideas of procedures and policies. If Harvard believes it then we follow the band wagon. I think PNNL has always been different, researchers face a cut-throat industry sometimes too. If you bring in money, then we will look the other way if you are bending the rules. The barriers the library faces in respect to our culture is affected by the constant hunt for a work package number, hopefully the culture will change with the librarians being embedded in groups that they can work with the researchers in finding work. For some people they think that the PNNL way can be every man for themselves, I’m not going to share what I know, knowledge is power. I’m not necessarily in agreement with this.”

(A):”I think our group is can be any of what you mentioned. We can be formal or informal, open or closed communication, we definitely face bureaucratic policies . We are not an island to ourselves. The larger the organization it affects us, it can potentially influence us and others. It depends on who you talk to on any given day about our culture. We are matrixed into PNNL in a different way than other groups are which can be considered a barrier.”

Human Resource

Question: “Change is always hard for staff and with the big change the librarians’ have made being spread out across campus, now new organizational changes, and rapidly changing technologies. What methods will you use to help direct the staff in terms of training and staff development? Will they be offered to all staff or select few? How do you determine which staff will benefit from training and staff development? How do you recognize staff? Do you think there are some staff that are burned out, stagnant, or are stuck in a rut? If so, what ways do you try to get them out of this?”

(B):”I believe strength and passion go together. You want to invest in the people who are proactive. Those who are proactive have an increase in knowledge. Knowledge is power. For the people who have plateaued in a work place you want to restart their engine. If you set the bar high you reward the up and comers. You want to surround talent around talent.”

(M):”The library is much better than IT in understanding what training and development needs they want. It is up to the individual to want to grow and take initiative. The problem is where is the work package number to pay for it? A way to recognize staff could be done through offering to pay for training, but budgets affects this. If an individual shows a vision and how they fit in they should go for it. We should address gaps and come up with a new vision. The bus will leave them if they don’t jump on board. Knowledge equal power and if people are stuck in a rut they need to take initiative to grow. It is up to you to want to grow and direct your future.”

(A):”This is only partially in my hands, there is a division or committee to make recommendations for training and staff development. We’ve requested input for training, roll the input up, rank those requests. We could create funding for training but does it go to overhead to directly to the customer? We have to find a balance somewhere. I would like to think we have a voice in this matter. Or organization is very IT centric, getting ideas out is difficult. We don’t have a budget separate from IT. I believe in verbal recognition in front of others. I believe in verbal recognition or an email or at a meeting to tell others that here is a person doing well. There are and have been people who are stagnant or stuck in a rut. I talk to them about what they would like to do and move opportunities around. I like to see people diversify and grow. The problem with this is communication. We want more people to be self- motivated.”

Coordinating

Question: “What benchmarks do you use to gauge success or failure of some of the projects you have been involved in?”

(B):”I feel that the metrics that matter the least are scope, budget, schedule. These are traditional measures. I feel that the measure of success involves the questions, did you drive adoption of an idea? Did you change behaviors to get different results? Did I achieve transformation and change? In a lot of ways showing return of investment is hard to demonstrate a tangible success.”

(M):”I struggle with metrics. Sometimes I start at the end to know what is considered a success and work backwards from there. If you don’t know what the end result is supposed to be. How do you measure success? It’s easy if you start with the end and work backward because this is what we’re looking for. I would say 99% of the time, the end moves as you move towards that direction. Sometimes we throw away that metric and create a new one because of changes that occur along the way.”

(A):”In terms of budgets, I think about whether I came within budget. Did I get tasks done when I needed it to get done? Each staff member had a goal, those goals may need to benchmarked, but I consider those my goals too. Did they meet their goals? Why did they not meet those goals? Those are tangible questions. However there are intangible ones. Did they move forward with their goals? Are they trying to better themselves? Were they communicative during the process? Were they sharing with the other staff members what they were doing? Measuring and keeping track of goals is hard and for some it isn’t important. The new manager who steps in will have new goals and our goals will change because of that. What will their vision be? You want goals you can control although there are some you can’t control.”

Leading

Question: “What do you think your strengths are as a leader? What do you think your weaknesses are? What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make as a leader?”

(B):”My approach to engaging others to drive results and inspiring folks is one of my strengths. I look to get the road blocks out of the way. I like to set the tone and let people fly with their visions. ‘I say’ is not my philosophy, that involves too much pomp and circumstance. My weaknesses are time management, over committing, and I think too far in front and others aren’t following. The most difficult thing for me is tough people decisions. A great team is the sum of its people. If the people are underperforming or are given tough feedback the organization with drown under dysfunction.”

(M):”There is a Ted talk I listened to recently and I liked the message,’Anyone can be a leader, but you have to have courage to come up with a vision’. I feel that communicating the vision can be difficult. Where’s the dividing line? Am I meeting the expectations of everyone above me? I feel that I have enough people who accept my vision so let’s move forward. Not everyone gets on board and then we have to wait. What I find difficult as a leader is how much risk are you willing to accept? I’m willing to take risks, but then you lose the trust of others and then who has your back?”

(A):”I believe my strength is the ability to listen to people’s different ideas and where it should take us. I think that taking all of that information and getting people to own those ideas, lay them down, and encourage them to run with it. My weakness is that I’m impatient. I need more patience. I get impatient and want people to keep moving along and be more self-motivating and looking at the big picture of what possibilities are available to them. The difficult decisions I face as a leader involves reporting up to management and fighting for the team we currently have. Knowing when its best, what fights to pick, and what fights to let go. I also find it hard with the budgets cut with staff. There are a lot of pros and cons to individuals, I offer a lot of justification and then people don’t always see eye to eye. This overall affects the morale of the team.”

Diversity

Managing People’s Strengths and Weaknesses for the Private Sector

I have worked for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the past 11 years immediately following graduate school. Eight of those years were in the research, development, and characterization of solid oxide fuel cell materials working hand-in-hand with scientists and engineers. The past three years I have been working for PNNL’s Technical Library alongside the director, research librarians, and administrative staff serving the research scientists with their information needs. I have learned that while the two groups were vastly different in the types of work that was performed, the diverse backgrounds and experiences working with the variety of job types have influenced my view about how I would perform as a manager.

I have learned that there are a variety of factors to consider when managing a diverse group of individuals. These factors include hard skills, soft skills, and the generational gap among the staff. The hard skills (technical skills) are occupational requirements for the job type such as writing, reading, using software, and are teachable abilities that are easy to quantify. Soft skills are not necessarily quantifiable and are subjective but are inherent in an individual such as personality traits, social graces, relationships with the other staff, conflict management and resolution, understanding your own emotions and how to react to other people’s emotions, team building, work styles, time management, leadership abilities, and most of all communication. Through my experiences, a high performing staff member would be well rounded in both hard and soft skills and as a manager, I would focus on improving a staff member’s abilities in both of these areas to maintain the staff member’s longevity in the company. For soft skills I would give staff the opportunity for training courses to make them better communicators, become more flexible, and focus on team building. Additional courses in learning personality traits and social styles would help with focusing on soft skills. For hard skills, I would put people in mentorship and mentee roles. By doing this I would acknowledge the strengths of individuals and put them in the leadership role to help raise the technical skill levels of their fellow colleagues. Essentially I believe that a person’s weakness can be built up with another person’s strength to build a strong team. Staff development, training and goal setting is another priority I would want to make sure is in line with the Lab’s mission and values. As a manager recognizing, understanding, and respecting the generational differences among staff is also a major factor to consider when leading a diverse team. The differences among the various generational groups - veterans, baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z – have different work styles, expectations, communication styles, and motivations from one another. To minimize conflict among the staff about these generational differences, I would also need to communicate to the staff that respecting these differences is key to building a strong, cohesive team. (Evans, 2013 and Stueart, 2007)

References

Evans, G. E. & Alire, C. A. (2013). Chapter 15: Addressing Diversity. In (3rd Edition), Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 365-387). Chicago, IL: ALA Neal-Schuman.

Stueart, R. D. & Moran, B. B. (2007). Chapter 11: The Human Resources Functions in the Library. In Easun, S. (7th Edition), Library and Information Center Management (pp. 235-266). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Leadership Plan

 

What Type of Leader I Want to Be?

I believe in order to be a strong leader you have to have strong communication skills with your staff. I want the staff members to feel comfortable talking to me one-on-one or within a group setting. I would not want to carry an aura about myself that would intimate them or put a fear of retaliation. This open communication would lead to trust. I want people to trust me and I want to trust them. A team that trusts each other is essential for success. I do not want to be the type of leader where I would dictate that,”this is the way or the highway”. I am not going to claim I know all the answers, but I would help direct people to the right individuals. I think what goes hand in hand with communication is listening skills. I believe I am a good listener and a good communicator. I think because I am thick skinned and can take criticism that it would be a strong attribute to have as a leader. I also feel I am a highly motivated person with a lot of creative ideas. I want a team of creative, visionaries who are willing to take risks. I firmly believe,”Without risk there would be no reward” and as a leader show this passion of looking towards the future. I also believe that as a leader the team members should want to adopt a vision or mission not be pushed or forced and to understand our end-user is our primary goal.

As a leader I am able to look at people’s strengths and weaknesses in both soft skills and hard skills and would be able to determine who would be a good fit as a mentor or a mentee. I believe this acknowledgement of a diverse group of individuals creates a strong team. The hard skills (technical skills) are occupational requirements for the job type such as writing, reading, using software, and are teachable abilities that are easy to quantify. Soft skills are not necessarily quantifiable and are subjective but are inherent in an individual such as personality traits, social graces, relationships with the other staff, conflict management and resolution, understanding your own emotions and how to react to other people’s emotions, team building, work styles, time management, leadership abilities, and most of all communication. Through my experiences, a high performing staff member would be well rounded in both hard and soft skills and as a leader, I would focus on improving a staff member’s abilities in both of these areas to maintain the staff member’s longevity in the company and prevent stagnant or burned out tendencies.

I think some areas I would find difficult are staff members who do not have drive, ambition or motivation to further themselves. I would hope I would address these issues ahead of time before these types of behaviors took over, but it happens all the time. I also have a hard time with negativity among staff members. Negativity can be toxic and a complete waste of time and resources. I want people to speak up and convey their ideas or feelings about how things are going and not to feel overpowered or shadowed by others. I think as a leader the areas that would be also difficult include the tough decisions when it comes to keeping or letting staff members go. I would have a hard time not taking things personal in making these decisions because individuals have a life outside of the work place that I would take into consideration. I need to step outside of this and realize they may not be following the vision of PNNL.

The other area I would find difficult in being a leader is the subject of budgets. At PNNL, budgets can fluctuate or be cut on a year to year basis. Understanding the needs of our customers is our priority but making decisions on cancellations of our subscriptions can be detrimental and can cause a negative reaction by our patrons. I would want the collection to reflect both the needs and mission of PNNL. I think figuring out metrics as to what is kept and what has to go is difficult as well. I would want to be fair, but it is hard not to be biased.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

LIS580 References and Materials

Make_a_List

Books

  • Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. 1st Edition, Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.

Blog/Websites

References for Leadership Paper

  • Evans, G. E. & Alire, C. A. (2013). Chapter 2: Operating Environment. In (3rd Edition), Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 31-50). Chicago, IL: ALA Neal-Schuman.
  • Evans, G. E. & Alire, C. A. (2013). Chapter 4: The Planning Process. In (3rd Edition), Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 85-106). Chicago, IL: ALA Neal-Schuman.
  • Evans, G. E. & Alire, C. A. (2013). Chapter 13: Leading. In (3rd Edition), Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 319-340). Chicago, IL: ALA Neal-Schuman.
  • Fitzgerald, M. A., & Waldrip, A. (2004). Not Enough Time in the Day: Media Specialists, Program Planning, and Time Management, Part I. Library Media Connection, 38-40.
  • Kotter, J. (2012). The Key to Changing Organizational Culture. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2012/09/27/the-key-to-changing-organizational-culture/.
  • Stueart, R. D. & Moran, B. B. (2007). Chapter 5: Strategic Planning-Thinking and Doing. In Easun, S. (7th Edition), Library and Information Center Management (pp. 93-117). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Inc.
  • Stueart, R. D. & Moran, B. B. (2007). Chapter 7: Organizations and Organizational Culture. In Easun, S. (7th Edition), Library and Information Center Management (pp. 131-148). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Inc.
  • Stueart, R. D. & Moran, B. B. (2007). Chapter 11: The Human Resources Functions in the Library. In Easun, S. (7th Edition), Library and Information Center Management (pp. 235-266). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Inc.
  • Westwood, D. (2013). Webinar Handout Packet: Burnout-Avoiding the Flames. Bellevue Libraries, King County Library System, Staff Development.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflection

This course has really opened my eyes as to what type of person I am and what type of person I look up to.  Could I be a manager?  Am I a leader?  How do I view my current managers and leaders in my career?  The I know for sure is that I want a team that I trust and I want them to trust me. Without trust projects will not succeed. I really believe in Lencioni’s pyramid of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  Without trust everything else will fail. The Inattention to results, avoidance of accountability, lack of commitment, fear of conflict, and absence of trust are all key components of a team.

I want a team of creative people with vision and take initiative and proactive roles. I don’t want people who are just there for a paycheck and watch the clock tick down. I realize there is always going to be bureaucracy and budgetary issues.  I also understand people have different learning behaviors and social styles.  There are always ways to direct your management or leadership skills to your team’s styles. 

According to Evans there are many characteristic differences between a manager and a leader. Sometimes you can be a manager but not a leader. Sometimes you can be both.

Managers are often:

  • administers
  • is a copy
  • maintains, accepts reality
  • is system and structure focused
  • relies on control
  • short-term view
  • asks how and when
  • has an eye on the bottom line
  • imitates
  • accepts the status quo
  • is a classic good soldier
  • does things right.

Leaders are:

  • innovators
  • original
  • develops, investigates reality
  • people focused
  • inspires trust
  • long-range view
  • asks what and why
  • has an eye on the horizon
  • originates
  • challenges the status quo
  • is their own person
  • does the right thing.

There are aspects of both managers and leaders I believe I could be a good match, but overall I think I would make a better leader than manager.  I don’t know how I would be able to handle the bureaucracy, policies and procedures, and being a copy of someone else as a manager.  But I do have long term and short term views on the future, I do ask how and when, what and why, I do like challenges and being my own person, and being original.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Isaac Nguyen Cramer

Isaac Nguyen Cramer was born on December 13, 2013 weighing in at 8 pounds 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches.  Here are some newborn photos of him and his big sister Lucy.

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