Standing Out, Being Extraordinary
What are you doing to make yourself and your department or organization stand out?
Earlier this month, Nina Platt put out a challenge to law librarian bloggers to start writing in more practical terms, less about the future of law and daily publishing news, and instead to identify our practical issues that need tackling, such as these:
- how we can support changes in the legal industry
- what technology will help get us there
- what staffing, research resources, services, processes, etc. will we need to have in place
- how we will need to deal with licensing, copyright, budgets, marketing, management, and other issues that face administrators within law firms
- what skills will librarians need to have that they don’t now
- how library education will need to change
- how libraries will need to be staffed to meet these changes
As a response, Greg Lambert put the questions out to the readers of 3 Geeks and a Law Blog and the results were interesting. To me, most of the responses fit into one of two categories: those that despair about the future and the role we play in this industry, and those that have high level solutions that will need some fleshing out. I wonder if some are a little too far-out to really be implemented, but it is good to think outside the box! I encourage you to have a look at the post to see what you think. What can you use from the ideas?
What really got me thinking about this topic, however, is CALL/ACBD member Joan Rataic-Lang's column this week on Slaw.ca, "Convergence, or a Tale of Two Conferences". In it she describes what she learned at this year's conference put on by the Canadian Society of Association Executives' Trillium chapter. As I was sitting down to re-read her column (it bears a couple of readings to absorb), I realized it is a nice initial response to Nina's challenge.
Joan explains that we need to think of ourselves as partners inside our organizations. And, as partners, we need to:
- Add value.
- Go to where your where your organization wants to be in the future and help them get there.
- Become the partner of choice.
We hear a lot about adding value. And as of late, everyone has been talking about getting to the future. So to me, the really fresh and practical idea here is #3 - Become the partner of choice.
Joan is pretty forthright in explaining this:
Do you want your lawyers going outside the firm to get what you can do in-house? Do you want Marketing or Business Development to be the key source of information in your firm or taking credit for the information you’ve provided to them?
She continues on with strong words of encouragement:
Our profession possesses a unique quality that allows us to understand how people work, what they need and how they can be more efficient. We have to take a page from the association executives, and learn to boast about and lay claim to our skills and abilities and point out the value we bring within our own organizations. We must claim possession of our creative ideas and show ourselves to be forward looking.
What does this mean to you? How will you make yourself and your co-workers stand out? How will you show yourself to be extraordinary?
I would love to hear some examples--even the small ones--since we have to start somewhere!
Image: Rehearsing circus skills in London by Rev Stan on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.