Recommended Books: Tribes – We Need You to Lead Us

LLP Episode #5: Kris Johnson 
“So, if I may, I have two things I could mention here that are inspirational to me but I’ll be really honest with you, I don’t tend to read a lot of books about leadership, particularly like library leadership. But, I find myself drawn to other sources of inspiration.

One book that you may be familiar with but that I have found myself drawn to in the past five or so years is by Seth Godin, and it’s called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. The thing I like about this book is, like all of Godin’s books, they are super easy to read. And, the premise is very simple. The premise is that tribes are groups of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. What he really does in this book is emphasize that almost everyone can be a leader.

But, most of us are kept from realizing our potential by fear of criticism or fear of being wrong. Then if you’re drawn to being a leader but you ignore that opportunity to lead, you risk turning into what he calls a sheepwalker, which is someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs. I think that is what aligns with my thinking about design thinking is that if you’re a design thinker you’re definitely not going to become a sheepwalker.

Another recent source of inspiration from me isn’t necessarily a book, but it’s a person. I’ve attended several presentations given by a designer named Jon Kolko. His last name is spelled K O L K O. He actually has several writings out there that are super inspirational. He’s written some books and actually, I mentioned Harvard Business Review earlier, he has some really good pieces in the Harvard Business Review, most recently one called, Design Thinking Comes of Age.

This is a really good piece because in it he advocates a set of principles collectively known as design thinking which are empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and a tolerance for failure, is the best tool we have for creating the kinds of interactions our users need.

And, that in turn we can apply the design thinking to help develop a responsive and flexible organizational culture. That’s what really resonated with me was that his focus on corporations as needing responsive flexible organizational cultures and how design thinking could help with that. I really wanted to make that connection to the work we do in libraries, as well.”

Buy the Book: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Listen to Kris’ full episode: https://libraryleadershippodcast.com/design-thinking-with-kris-johnson-montana-state-university-library/

Recommended Books: Mindset – The New Psychology of Success

Question: What’s your favorite Library Leadership Book and why?

Jami Munk Carter: It’s not necessarily written for leaders. It’s a very introspective book. The book Mindset by Carol Dweck has been extremely influential for me. The concept that we are both growth-minded and fixed-minded in different areas of our lives, applying that to myself, applying that understanding to staff that I work with to assist them to grow in ways that are meaningful to them. In addition to our community as well, understanding how to approach somebody.

It is uncomfortable. Often I speak quite a bit about self-directed achievement and learning cultures and in the process of learning in general. One of the things that comes up is we want a safe and comfortable environment to learn. That’s what’s very very important to us and if we had that we would absolutely do it. That’s what people tell me, and I contradict part of that. As a leader, it’s important for us to make it a safe place to learn. That learning and failure are part of our processes.

Your colleagues also have something to do with that safety. So, it has to start with leadership or leadership needs to adopt it. If you’re lucky enough to have a staff that is okay with that safety. I propose that it will never feel comfortable to learn. It is not a place to know that you don’t know something to feel less than, to feel a lack of something is not a comfortable place to be. What I propose to people and what I try to live myself is that I get to use that trigger in my mind when I’m feeling vulnerable, or when I’m feeling imposter syndrome is creeping in.

I have to recognize that, as an emotion that I can turn to—become excitement. Because, here’s the next thing I get to be good at. Here’s the next thing I get to learn. Here’s the next thing I get to fumble through and become a better person for it. That takes some intentionality. It takes some practice, but the idea that being comfortable, I don’t feel is a reality, that we can really expect as a person. I worry 1 that it becomes an excuse because we feel safe, but not comfortable. So, we don’t do it. 

Listen to Jami’s full episode here: https://libraryleadershippodcast.com/jami-munk-carter-director-of-the-tooele-city-library-utah/

101. Library Ethics with Gail Santy, Maribeth Shafer and Patty Collins

Do you prepare for handling ethics situations in your library before they arise? On this show Gail Santy, Maribeth Shafer, and Patty Collins, from the Central Kansas Library System, share why this is a good idea and how to do it. When you are faced with a situation that challenges core policies and library ethics you will be ready if you apply the practical advice offered in this conversation.

100. Cataloging the Community with James LaRue

Jamie LaRue

On this show Jamie LaRue, CEO and Founder of LaRue and Associates, shares a distinctive way our organizations can move from being library-centric to being community-centric by cataloging the community. It’s a way we can take the classic library skills of cataloging, reference interviews, and database creation to the next level to create a powerful way to serve our communities.

99. Customer Service Matters with Asti Ogletree

Why does customer service matter? On this show Asti Ogletree, Operations Manager at the East Central Arkansas Regional Library at the Cross County Branch, jumps right into this topic to explore just why customer service matters and how we can help our library teams make it happen. You won’t want to miss this conversation on what to do when we feel like scattering when a difficult patron walks through the door or even how to create “inspiration stations” to help us be our best selves when we are helping people. 

98. Effective Staff Development on Any Budget with Tiffany Hayes

What are effective ways we can implement staff development on any budget? On this show Tiffany Hayes, Director of Library Development at the South Carolina State Library shares thoughts on this topic. All libraries have staff learning needs that can benefit from this conversation. From effective learning design to developing a plan for our own library with clear objectives and outcomes, the ideas shared here will help all of us implement effective staff development on any budget.

97. Better Handling of Sexual Harassment with Katie McLain Horner

What do we do in libraries when patrons sexually harass staff? On this show, I speak with Katie McLain Horner, Head of Circulation & Reference at the Lake Bluff Public Library. She shares why personal experiences dealing with this issue led her to think and write about ways to support staff who experience this troubling problem. In this episode we learn how not to respond to sexual harassment, what steps to take if is someone reports an incident, how this can be especially sensitive for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ members of our staff, how important it is to ask staff what they need in these situations, and even what the documenting of sexual harassment incidents should look like. 

96. Policies of Yes with Jennie Garner

What are Policies of Yes and how might they help us serve our user groups? On this show Jennie Garner, Director of the North Liberty Library, shares what it means to think about policies in a way that creates flexibility, inclusion, empathy, and allyship with those we serve while including staff in policy development and training in a way that gets everyone to yes. 

95. Beginner’s Guide to Being in Charge with Suzanne Macaulay

How can we overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed and intimidated when moving into a new role of being in charge? On this show Suzanne Macaulay, Deputy Director of the Pioneer Library System in New York, talks about ways to overcome these feelings as well as how to avoid some common mistakes of new leadership. She shares the importance of support networks and professional development, and what new leaders bring to the table. We are all new to roles of being in charge at some point. Listening to this conversation will help anyone finding themselves in that situation to set off on the right foot. 

94. Shark Tank Lessons for Libraries with Elektra Greer

Are there ideas that libraries can take from the business world to create success? On this show I speak with Elektra Greer, Director of the Nederland Community Library in Colorado, about Shark Tank lessons for libraries. She discusses what it might look like to pitch our ideas for funding and support using lessons from entrepreneurs that add value, help develop services, and bolster marketing techniques. It’s an intriguing conversation that provides insights into entrepreneurial success that we can apply in our libraries.

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