Beyond authority – beyond late

Where is the time going?  Without the discipline of the CILIP Update backlog and with other competing priorities this blog has been something of a ghost town.

The academic year is also fast approaching it’s end and there are a number of tasks still to complete for the PDR.

One of those was to consider the book Beyond Authority: leadership in a changing world (2007) Julia Middleton.

I had picked this out as addressing a particular challenge for me in my leadership role in that I currently operate with no direct reports.  For my service to improve I need to affect change but this has to happen by working through partners, with limited funds and with people who I do not have particular authority over.

The book itself considers how leaders can operate beyond the traditional forms of authority granted by position or control of funds.  It considers how circles of authority relate to your place in your wider organisation and society in general.  When we move into the outer circles we need to lead beyond authority.  My role places me frequently in this position. Indeed I can feel like I am outside my circle much of the time while working to deliver a service for one sector from within another and as the employee of an external organisation with those I frequently work with most closely.

Key sources of power when operating in the outer circle are identified as communication / networks followed by personality and ideas.  It has certainly been my experience that good ideas will win people over but that you need to get a lot of people on board for them then to advance.

The book explores different roles for those leading beyond authority.  I am attempting to be a transformer in driving change and the book is useful in highlighting the potential to be used as a useful idiot or expert idiot.

The bulk of the book considers what is required to lead beyond authority.  I was generally encouraged by these. Elements around the right approach fitting my perception of my character.  People are key and it is important for me to build my networks but also to get outside my professional bubble.  The right methods section was where I have most work to do – this is about the long game but particularly about building strategic coalitions.  To do this a clear strategic message is vital.  Having been introduced to Strategy on a page as part of my NHS Leadership programme it seems a good place to start.

All in all a worthwhile read – I suspect that even those who feel they operate firmly within their own organisation and with the ability to direct a team to achieve their strategic goals would benefit from considering how they might reach out and work effectively beyond the library bubble.

On reading – an end to the Update updates?

I read quite a lot. I suspect this is not an unusual statement for people working in library and information roles.  Keeping up with the constant flood of things I want to read, happen to read and feel I should read is a challenge.  This blog has recorded the evidence of me working through one of my back logs and I have been tackling slightly smaller piles of a whole raft of other regular publications.  Generally things are starting to look okay with me reading about stuff that actually happened recently.  I haven’t really got back up on my blog reading – perhaps a next project.

Anyway – one conclusion from all the Update updates is that while I value some of the things I read I suspect that my ramblings are of less value (even to me).  Accordingly future Update updates will be perhaps be about a single item that particularly strikes the imagination.

I was pleased in the Dec 2016 / Jan 2017 issue to see a snippet about the publication of the Principles for Metrics report that was produced by a task and finish group I chaired for the Knowledge for Healthcare programme.  Work continues on creating ways to engage people and build their understanding of metrics (see previous posts on this). A new version of the quality metrics template is under development to help with this.

On a personal note I was glad to read an appreciation of Julian Lendon who died last year.  I never knew him but the Solihull Central Library he oversaw the planning and building of was a formative place for me.  This video preview for a talk there on Beatrice Cadbury gave me a chance for a little look around and is a nice example of how libraries make a difference.

Update November 2016 (and March 2015) and the end of the road

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It has been a long old struggle but this post covers the current issue of Update and the last of my backlog. The plan is not to let it get out of hand – there is no doubt that a current issue of Update is more interesting than one a year plus old.  While not always the most thrilling of publications I have continued to find the odd thing I have not heard about elsewhere and some really helpful brief articles on a wide variety of topics.

The October issue has a timely article on privacy and the Library user. My catch up reading meant I read another article by the same author (Paul Pedley) only the other day.  There is a handy list of potential paths to take to work with users around privacy issues.

I have already spoken to colleagues about the article by Wendy Morris on the Big Read at Kingston University. We are currently engaged on a mass reading project and there are valuable ideas here on how to build on the possibilities this offers.

South London colleague Sian Aynsley updates on the KfH Learning Zone. I heard a verbal update on this at #NHSHE2016 so this is more a reconfirmation of details of this helpful resource.

Finally in this issue I enjoyed reading about the experience of Sue Willis on the Libraries Taskforce. It is fascinating to have a glimpse at this task of influencing within government. The importance of adjusting communication styles to suit audience was an obvious take away.

And finally – May 2015!

I had already seen the Design Thinking for Libraries toolkit but this is well worth a look if you are interested in user experience and design thinking. There is a free book with all sorts of tips and ideas on how to learn more about users. I will probably read this again ahead of a project I am managing to use external consultants to help with this at work.

Finally there is an article explaining obligatory revalidation – sadly it didn’t make the case strongly enough to get it past the members!

Getting engaging at #NHSHE2016

The #NHSHE2016 conference was more than just a poster competition and a chance to catch up with good colleagues.

There was the usual full programme of talks. It was useful to hear about some of the new structures in the NHS around STPs (Sustainability & Transformation Plans AKA Sticky Toffee Pudding AKA Secret Tory Plans) with Local Workforce Action Boards (LWABs) a new one on me and seemingly a useful place to seek involvement.  Within the developing STP picture there is less emphasis on organisational boundaries.  A big drive for a digital ready workforce should also have implications for us – support for effective working in an online environment is something we could plug into.

Louise Goswami gave a good run through on KfH progress.  The patient and public area was the newest on me and it was good to get a view of the breadth of work in this area. The patient and public is not a natural match for HE based libraries – it was good to see ideas for how we can support the Trust in their work with these groups rather than perhaps taking a direct patient facing role.

Sue Lacey-Bryant gave a great talk on efforts to advance “mobilising evidence and organisational knowledge” AKA Knowledge Management. There are concrete tools and training coming that can help us make this a reality which is great as I have long maintained an interest without advancing very far (see this since abandoned 2008 blog where I read Learning to Fly). There will be a campaign  #amilliondecisions advocacy championing expertise of librarians and knowledge in mobilising evidence.

I was really pleased to participate in an innovation presentation session.  I spoke about how I made our annual reports for NHS partners more engaging and useful for all concerned.  The slides are pretty simple in that they consist largely of a lightly edited version of the report.

The style is very much based on that used by the University of York for their action plans.  The talk was well received – both in terms of winning first prize in a public vote but also in terms of people discussing it with me afterwards. I had a similar experience when I shared it with colleagues in my local network so it was great to be able to spread this further.  I plan to follow up in the Spring to see if any NHS colleagues have gone with it following the talk.

Making Metrics that hit the MARC

I always enjoy preparing a poster for the #NHSHE2016 Conference organised by London Health Libraries (now with added KSS).  There are always good prizes and the chance to create something to make the office look less dull while sharing a piece of work.  We were tasked with the theme of Knowledge for Healthcare which was pretty straightforward as this encompasses pretty much anything you care to look at professionally these days.

My main direct involvement with KfH has been around metrics.  The presentation I gave at HLG2016 Scarborough brought home to me the need to make the materials we had produced in the Metrics Task and Finish group more accessible.  It was also clear that people were interested if things were put to them clearly. So a poster on Metrics was the obvious outcome.  I went with trying to hammer home the message about the four principles and what they mean in practice. Using MARC as an acrostic had the bonus of chucking in a feeble nerdy library pun.

The poster was well received. While it came only 6th out of 9 in the popular vote this was a step forward on last years metrics poster which was a rare non prizewinner. A few people verbally told me how clear and helpful they had found it. I was really pleased to see a tweet afterwards sharing the poster with a group of other libraries after it had been raised at a network meeting.  I am hoping that people will share with me examples of how they have used the metrics work.

Next steps are to create a version of this post for the KfH blog and move on with the plans to set up a national metrics collection tool.

Well fellow there?

I have pondered applying for Cilip Fellowship a few times.  The latest provocation was the realisation that under the old revalidation scheme the third round would have made me a Fellow.  I appreciate the new scheme is less of a job than the old one but the discipline of revalidating made me very aware of the range of development I have completed over the years. Generally I have been put off by the slightly minimalist guidance available on the process.  I have also been busy learning about life in HE and completing the AKC (final year of this at present).

A timely event organised by Cilip in London in October helped quell some of my doubts about the process. Hail Fellow well met brought together potential fellowship candidates, those already in process, some Fellows and those involved on the assessment side.  While there were some useful materials available it was predominantly the opportunity to have a conversation with those who understood the nature of the process that made the difference. There are alos a good few people I know on Twitter who are engaged in the process at present so I have a ready made community to discuss things with.

I had mooted starting the process next year to my boss but have ended up plumping for just getting on with it so there will be a bit of Fellowship commentary on here in the coming months.  In the first instance I am all registered, have found a mentor and found a copy of the portfolio book in the work ebook collection (the paper copy is not on the shelf and not issued – tut).  Anyone know where I left my CV?

October Update (and April 2015)

The shrink wrap crackle of a new edition through the letterbox pushes me to try not to fall further behind again.

October 2016 had some good stuff in it.

Interested in the plans for the new Lambeth Palace Library – I work just around the corner and will hopefully be involved in a building project myself nearby so there will be two Library projects within a few hundred metres over the coming years.

The Library Leadership Reading Group is profiled.  I have dipped in and out of this but frequently find it hard to participate in twitter events in the evenings. I am hoping to participate in the next one on Compelling People which looks useful for me as someone who needs to influence people without some of the usual levers.

Alison Day writes about the creation of the PKSB for health I am a fan of this in that it finally prompted me to complete my PKSB.  Having examples grounded in my predominant practice was a real help. The new online version also made it much easier to work through (and share). The close working between NHS libraries and CILIP has been a real positive for both.

I loved the Reads and rights campaign at Bath Spa – such a brilliant engagement project building on the strengths and values of the library within the institution and society.

Way back to April 2015 next with the announcement of the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework – stunning to think it was less than two years that this was published given all the work and progress subsequently (more on this in another post).

The other main thing to strike my eye was a piece by Paul Pedley on protecting the privacy of users particularly relevant in the light of the passing of the IP bill and a tide of news relating to capture and use of personal data.  There is a lot in the article to check out and some solid pointers for areas that we need to look at as a service.