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Fostering Leadership Across the Academic Library Organization: Avoiding the Competency Trap Elliott Shore Executive Director Association of Research Libraries.

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Presentation on theme: "Fostering Leadership Across the Academic Library Organization: Avoiding the Competency Trap Elliott Shore Executive Director Association of Research Libraries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fostering Leadership Across the Academic Library Organization: Avoiding the Competency Trap Elliott Shore Executive Director Association of Research Libraries 11 th Columbia Library Symposium LEADERS EVERYWHERE: Fostering Leadership Across the Academic Library Organization March 21, 2014

2 ARL Competency Trap The position of an organization which uses a suboptimal procedure because it is good enough in the short run and so does not switch to a better one. (Becker and Levitt – 1988/2004)

3 ARL Disagreement deficit People are naturally hesitant to disagree with those around them, what Kathryn Schulz calls the "disagreement deficit.” We not only believe what those around us believe, but we even see things as those around us see them.

4 ARL A Story of a Competency Trap (Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely-Brown) Glenalvon — 1880s Clipper Ships

5 ARL France II

6 ARL Preussen

7 ARL Thomas W. Lawson

8 ARL Lesson Learned… Incremental change lands you on the rocks.

9 ARL Imagining Beyond Incremental Movement Forward A Belief The challenges we face are both fundamental and substantial. We have moved from an era of equilibrium to a new normal—an era of constant dis-equilibrium. Our ways of working, ways of creating value, and ways of innovating must be reframed. (John Seely Brown) The Competency Trap works against change! but what blocks one from seeing new patterns?

10 ARL Fostering Leadership “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schulz

11 ARL Being Wrong “To err is to wander, and wandering is the way we discover the world; and, lost in thought, it is also the way we discover ourselves. Being right might be gratifying, but in the end it is static, a mere statement. Being wrong is hard and humbling, and sometimes even dangerous, but in the end it is a journey, and a story.” (Schulz)

12 ARL Being Wrong “Who really wants to stay home and be right when you can don your armor, spring up on your steed and go forth to explore the world?” (Schulz)

13 ARL Being Wrong “True, you might get lost along the way, get stranded in a swamp, have a scare at the edge of a cliff; thieves might steal your gold, brigands might imprison you in a cave, sorcerers might turn you into a toad-but what of that? To [mess] up is to find adventure.” (Schulz)

14 ARL The Disagreement Deficit Our communities expose us to disproportionate support for our own ideas They shield us from the disagreement of outsiders They cause us to disregard whatever outside disagreement we do encounter They quash the development of disagreement from within (Kathryn Schulz)

15 ARL Protecting Those Who Disagree Lee Iacocca, Dan Atkins Lee Iacocca delved deeper into the organization and discovered a rich reserve of dynamic, young, talented people, “people with fire in their eyes,” raised them to the light of day, and gave them freedom and responsibility to express their capacities in their work.

16 ARL Paths forward? Smile and ask: “Why can’t we do it this way,” or “What is stopping us from trying this idea?” “What is the worst thing that could happen if we try this?” “Our scholars learn from experiments – often more from unsuccessful ones – can we experiment with this idea?”

17 ARL Working under constraints “I would like to ask if we might suspend disbelief…” “Can we imagine that there is another possible answer to this question?”

18 ARL Differently positioned We all report to someone else We learn more when we listen and engage and respond than when we dictate and disregard There is more strength in hybridity than in monocultures We all stand somewhere We should share our ideas

19 ARL Thank you! Elliott Shore


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