This is my first blog as your 2020 chair and I am very excited to take on this role during a year which announces itself as full of challenges and great opportunities.
As most of you will be aware, the SLA board announced in January some changes to the association. The rational is clear: our structures no longer reflect the size of our membership and have become a barrier for us to be more agile and adapt to a changing world; and our name no longer enables the association to be the place where information professionals want to come together.
At the Leadership Symposium in January, units’ leaders had the opportunity to discuss the details of the upcoming changes. As well as the administrative aspects, we also had an opportunity to explore what changes mean for us as individuals with the help of the great facilitator Karyn Nishimura Sneath.
As an association, we have discussed many times over the last few years the need to make changes for our communities to thrive, and whilst we all like to have the facts laid out clearly, good explanations only ever go some way to help us deal with the uncomfortable feelings that change brings. Change involves letting go of a familiar situation, however precarious it might be, to embrace the unknown. It requires us to leave a position of relative comfort to take risks and dare doing things we have not done before. Understanding that strong feelings are part of a normal transition process might help us move forward on this journey.
I encourage you to contribute to the discussion about the association’s restructuring and a specific 2020 SLA Restructuring Initiative Community has been set up for this purpose on Connect.
Your board has met to discuss the changes and is preparing to adapt to new working practices. We took the time to look at the details contained in the announcement and the FAQs and assessed that the essence of what our community does would not be affected. We will carry on proposing varied and interesting programmes to support your professional development and encourage peer to peer learning. I am very excited to work with a fantastic group of dedicated volunteers whose enthusiasm and to-do attitude never cease to amaze me. I would like to thank in particular Janel Kinlaw, our 2019 Chair, who has been a fantastic role model.
Look out for more news on our programming, not just at conference but throughout the year. We have several virtual programmes to reach all our members, as well as conference awards and bursary to help individuals to attend our face to face annual meetings.
And please don’t hesitate to contact us with ideas, topics you would like us to cover, or indeed topics you would like to present in one of our webinars! The value of our community is in each of us, and our willingness to share our knowledge.
At the Leadership Symposium we were offered the opportunity to work through the DISC Personal profile assessment. I was a little surprised to discover myself as such a strong “I” it was almost off the chart (no kidding!). If you are not familiar with DISC, it describes an “I” as person with the following tendencies: “creating a motivating environment”, “entertaining people”, “generating enthusiasm” and “viewing situation with optimism”. I am making the commitment as your 2020 Chair to use all of these personality traits to keep our Leadership and Management Community moving positively towards the future!
Notes: One of my favourite change models was developed by William Bridges, and I encourage you to look it up if you have an interest in change management.