An Exciting Leadership Challenge

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.

Purposeful.  Earlier this week, I posted an interview with Jeff Klein about his book Working for Good.  One of the things he said was “If your work is infused with purpose, then you are energized to bring all that you have to the work.”  OCLC has an admirable mission and makes a real difference.  Libraries serve a great purpose in society and in individual lives.

As I surveyed the landscape, I was privileged and fortunate to have multiple career opportunities.  OCLC is the best fit.

Many people searching for a job face a tough economy and a difficult process.  I know how challenging it can be.  Still, even if you feel like you have no choice but to accept any job, I encourage you to first outline some of the qualities you are looking for.  When you do, often you will be surprised that the perfect new role materializes in front of you.

I will be moving to the Columbus, Ohio area.  Though I will miss Music City, I look forward to meeting new friends in the coming days, weeks and months.

In anticipation of the question, the answer is yes.  It is my intention to continue to post my thoughts here and continue to blog as I am able.



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