This last year, I have had the privilege of exploring many opportunities and consulting with different organizations. I’ve enjoyed the chance to study various teams and learn from a variety of leaders. At the same time, I most enjoy operational roles where I’m responsible for driving results.
In June, I will be joining OCLC as President-elect and I will be named President & CEO on July 1. Based in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit computer library service and research organization. Its goals include furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs.
During major career changes, I make a list of what I am looking for and then evaluate various opportunities against these criteria. Here are a few I’d like to share with you in case it helps you on your own journey:
Supportive. If you are joining a company, it is important to know whether you will have support or whether you will be fighting internally. Most of us have experienced teams where everyone is more concerned about survival than about helping each other. Specifically on my list is a “supportive board of directors.” I met with the trustees numerous times throughout the process and this is one of the most engaged, thoughtful and supportive boards I have ever seen.
Engaging. Really what this one is about is that I don’t like to be bored. For me, I enjoy industries in transition or undergoing change. Libraries have been at the cutting edge of technology for years and face challenges due to budget constraints. I’m excited to help in any way possible and know that the variety of technological and economic changes will provide new challenges.
Stable. I’ve enjoyed working in many different environments. Working in a stable business is important to me. My predecessor at OCLC, Jay Jordan, has done an excellent job working with the members to expand into new areas around the globe. Note: It’s possible to be both stable and in the middle of rapid change at the same time.
Respected. I’ve worked with libraries my entire career. OCLC is one of the most respected names anywhere, and this is because the member libraries help to make it what it is. The combination of fully engaged member libraries with talented OCLC employees around the world makes for a dynamic, well-respected organization.
Photo by Michael W. May on flickr.
At first blush, you may think a servant leader literally takes on the role of a servant. Taken to an extreme, that definition would look like this:
As you pull into work, the leader meets you at your car, opens your door, and welcomes you to the office. Maybe the leader gets you coffee mid-morning and drops by in the afternoon to see if you need anything. When you need assistance on a project, or maybe just someone to do the grunt work, there your leader is, waiting for you.
No, that isn’t servant leadership.
Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader.
A servant leader is one who:
1. Values diverse opinions.
A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If you must parrot back the leader’s opinion, you are not in a servant-led organization.
2. Cultivates a culture of trust.
People don’t meet at the water cooler to gossip. Pocket vetoes are rejected.
Photo by garyhutson on flickr.
The other day I shared my annual best book cover list.
Did you ever think that a book cover could teach powerful life lessons? What’s the leadership lesson from a book cover? Last year, I shared how they can help with goal setting. This year, let’s consider what the great book covers teach us.
A great book cover teaches us to:
Be expressive. The best covers communicate. They may be bursting with color. They convey ideas but also evoke emotion. Winners are people who express who they are without reservation.
Be original. There are many book covers that look the same. Winners stand out. Name five people who you would define as winners and leaders. My guess is that you also describe them as independent and unique.
Last week, I posted a list of my 2012 interviews with over fifty thought leaders. From sports to business, I’ve been fortunate to learn from such distinguished leaders from all walks of life. Apart from the interviews, what posts proved to be the most popular in 2012?
What Works Is Often A Surprise
Talk to any blogger and you will likely hear the same thing. It is always a surprise to see what becomes popular. I may work like crazy on something for hours, post it and it may see very little traffic. Something else ends up taking off and it was almost a last minute thought. You just can’t predict.
In putting together a list of popular posts, there are also so many ways to look at the data. Do you measure purely by the traffic? If you do it that way, doesn’t that give an unfair advantage to content posted in January?
After looking at the statistics, I decided to pick the top posts by traffic with a weight based on the date. If a post was dated later in the year, it received a slightly higher weight to equal things out.
I also decided not to put them in any order, so this is a random list:
- Don’t Let Others Determine Your Value
- Why Leaders Don’t Need Parrots
- 17 Resume Don’ts from the CEO’s Desk
- 7 Steps of Crisis Leadership
- Take Our Introvert / Extrovert Quiz and Relationship Tips for Your Opposite