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Leadership in a Connected Age

The Leadership in a Connected Age conference i recently attended was really successful. Ideas and inspiration abounded, so I figured I would share some of the goodness.

One of the keynote speakers Steve Shepard has some really useful ideas about how to lead and create the future for your organization. If you want to learn more about his ideas I would urge you to check out some of his articles (especially the one on The Reverse Engineered Future).

He gave a great quote by Alan Kay. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” This was primarily the theme of what he was talking about—creating a believable, exciting vision for where your organization.  Then it should be easy to get people to follow you and build momentum. The other quote he gave was from the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.” It is essential to have a clear vision to be able to innovate and stay relevant.

He also discussed the power of harnessing the crowd. He gave the example of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. You would always want to ask the audience over phoning a friend. Crowds are smarter than individuals. Use this to your advantage, and don’t underestimate the power of crowds.
You don’t always want to be a part of the crowd though.  Shephard said, “That warm sensation of everything going well is just the body temperature at the center of the herd.” It is also necessary to get out there and take risks. Create an environment in which failure is welcomed. Failure is the only path to innovation, and without innovation organizations become irrelevant.

There was also a lot of discussing about different social media tools. Cathy Resmer hosted a great session where she outlined a number of tools and best practices. But as Elaine Young a professor here at Champlain college states, “not everyone is using social media.”

This is very true, and it is important to keep in mind when engaging your users. Sure you’ll want to use some social media tools to engage your patrons, but also have some low tech options. Sit down and talk to a group of your patrons. Have conversations where they are. Use all the tools at your disposal, even if that tool is just a phone or you asking someone in person for feedback.

Andy Burkhardt

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