Librarians – No more excuses – says Stephen Abram

Stephen Abram is always a thought provoking speaker and his talk entitled No More Excuses, at last months SLA annual conference in Washington was no exception.

I am grateful to Woodsie Girl for reminding me of some of his salient points to add to my notes.

Stephen pointed out how the recent SLA funded alignment research had shown how our customers and managers often think more highly of us than we do. He wanted to know why librarians and information professionals are so shy about telling the world about how great we and our services are.

It makes him angry that we appear to be a profession of introverted complainers. This is not the way to survive and prosper during the current economic and future technological challenges we face.

How do we get to the next level?

Alignment research has shown others think more highly of us than we do.

Why are librarians and info-pro’s so shy about telling the world about how great we are?

Stephen quoted from You matter from Seth Godin’s blog:
• When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
• When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before
yourself, you matter.
• When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
• When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
• When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you
• When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you
• When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
• When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
• When you inspire a Nobel Prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
• When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
• And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

Stephen said we had no excuses—only reasons, and that if you have two lists of innovation limiters and encouragers, which list is longer?
Think…what’s the difference between an excuse and a reason?
Here are our TOP TEN reasons why [we can’t do things].
10. Innovation sparks dissonance and discomfort.
9. Innovation increases the amount of seeming failures.
8. Results only show up long term.
7. More meetings.
6. CEOs conserve resources. Innovation requires more resources.
5. Innovation flies in the face of analysis.
4. The perceived absence of time.
3. Over-reliance on cost-cutting and incremental improvement.
2. Inability to enroll a committed team of champions.
1. Insufficient conviction that innovation will make a difference.

So, I leave you with this—DREAM BIG. There’s no excuse. Your impact is so great and
powerful that it would be immoral not to make your dreams come true. SLA is there for you on
an international basis to help you with those dreams and making a difference in the world. Live
and learn. Network and enjoy. Say “yes” every chance you get. Put yourself in the way of being
asked to volunteer. Say “yes” to SLA and more. Be part of the change you want to see. Choose
to have an impact, an important impact.

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