In January 2009, I co-authored the article “Strategic Alignment: Positioning Our Brand for the Future,” for Information Outlook with Bill Fisher and Gloria Zamora. We noted that over the past several years, members have felt a burgeoning sense of “career angst” because they are not valued as much as is appropriate. Members saw positions eliminated or sent to project teams with little or no consultation, and salaries for positions similar to theirs outside the information center were paid at a higher rate.
It’s wrong that librarian don’t get enough credit for the value and benefits of their work. And that it’s wrong that the stereotype of librarians is limited. We need to right these wrongs. But how? We will move to where the value is. We will use the concepts from the Alignment Project to create meaning.
We will define ourselves in terms of the values, benefits and impact that we provide such as:
- Advance business and product development
- Facilitate good decision-making
- Provide the research tools to enable critical thinking
For the Association, we:
- Promote members as critical assets
- Enhance professional/personal development
- Enable global networking
We will define ourselves in terms our manager’s value. Fleishman-Hillard developed a two-by-two grid based on themes that emerged from in-depth interviews (pages 24-30). Guy Kawasaki, in talking about his own two-by-two grid, titles his axes in a way that I think is analogous. The axes are titled: 1) the ability to provide a unique product/service and 2) value to the customer.
“When you have a matrix like this you want to end up high and to the right. This is where you have a UNIQUE product and ONLY you can do this product, and it is of GREAT VALUE to the customer.”
The concepts that Fleischman-Hillard identified as “high and to the right” and therefore of great value are:
- Creating a culture of continuous learning
- Embracing knowledge-sharing tools
- Providing value-added intelligence
- That knowledge is the bridge that turns information into action
We will turn information into actionable knowledge that creates a competitive advantage for our organizations.
We will jump to a new curve. Have you heard of the Sigmoid Curve? It’s the s-shaped line used to track the life-cycle of products, careers, and even empires. The line shows initial growth, a period of peak activity, followed by decline. To survive, you must shift to a new curve before the current one expires.
It is my conclusion that the Alignment Project allows us to jump to a new curve—to position ourselves where the value is. We have taken the concept of “special libraries” to its natural conclusion. We need to jump to new positioning and nomenclature.
We will celebrate our legacy with our 100th anniversary, all the while grabbing the next vine and swinging upwards. We may or may not create the perfect name, but we will create one better than what we have now. We need to get going, or in Nike terms, “Just Do It.”