Friday, August 25, 2006

Some things to learn this school year

Guy Kawasaki has a post on "Ten Things to Learn This School Year." I agreed with most of the points, but the first one made me wonder. I wondered about talking to the boss. He writes that "in the real world, you’re supposed to bring solutions to your boss in an email, in the hall, or in a five-minute conversation. Typically, your boss either already knows about the problem or doesn’t want to know about it. Your role is to provide answers, not questions." For context, do note that he compares this to the college setting where the student goes to see a professor to solve a problem.

The reason that statement made me think is because it may explain why so many businesses and organizations in general seem to have problems they can't solve. This seems applicable to libraries as well. I think the reason is that I see my role as bringing in questions as well as answers. There are times when we should be asking a lot of questions, and the role of the boss, if he or she is any leader, is to encourage questions as well as nurture answers. You can tell I am probably not going to make it in the corporate world since the concept of nurturing anything is not something they like in that neck of the woods. But, if the boss already knows about the problem and just does not speak about it, it does not seem very productive. Sure, you can bring a solution to that boss, but if said boss is in a state of denial, you can forget about it. Or, if you are like me, you may try out a few things without telling the boss right away (or at all). I think overall, the message Mr. Kawasaki tries to convey is that people should display initiative and problem-solving ability. I just don't think it was phrased that well. And let's not even go into the cases where the boss is just absolutely clueless. That go be a whole new post.

The other lessons he points out are valuable. For one, his advice on how to run a poorly run meeting. I appreciate this being someone who has suffered through some of these. He writes on the topic the following: "First, assume that most of what you’ll hear is pure, petty, ass-covering bull shiitake, and it’s part of the game. This will prevent you from going crazy. Second, focus on what you want to accomplish in the meeting and ignore everything else. Once you get what you want, take yourself “out of your body,” sit back, and enjoy the show. Third, vow to yourself that someday you’ll start a company, and your meetings won’t work like this."

There are other good tips and things to consider, so hop on over and take a look.

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