On a + note

The CEO as Coach. #33: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on October 3, 2011

I am an armchair Saskatchewan Roughriders fan…by marriage. (My husband is a prairie boy.) I like football, because you can watch it on a Sunday afternoon with the family and still make fruitcake, cruise the Internet, and bathe the dog. It’s like a pick-up, put-down murder mystery!

If you don’t follow the CFL (Canadian Football League), you may not know that several weeks ago, after a terrible start to the season (1 win and 7 losses), the Riders head coach was fired. A new coach, Ken Miller, was hired. The football world was shocked, but it has made a huge difference in their game.  Why? Well, my husband believes it’s because the quarterback, Darian Durant, has been able to call his own plays. In Darian’s own words, “Coach Miller has made us believe in ourselves again.”

Of course, I got to thinking about how a new coach can benefit a library. For example:

  • If you have been on the job for a while, stand back, and with an objective eye, evaluate your performance and productivity over the last twelve months.  Have you lost sight of your goals or become complacent? Are you making a difference every day or just putting in time? Is the taxpayer getting a good deal? If not, now is the time to implement a new action plan either to regain your passion for the work or to look for another challenge.
  • Let the library team call the plays on occasion. Asking managers for their leadership on a project builds job satisfaction and encourages innovation.
  • Switch around the speciality teams. If a manager stays too long in one position, they lose their edge, especially if they are cruising towards retirement. This may be the perfect opportunity to switch around the team. For example, move the Head of Circulation to Information Services or the Head of Kids to Communications. The employee (after they recover from the shock) gets a whole new set of challenges, and the library gains a refreshed and passionate leader.
  • Let leaders lead. In libraryland, this means a Director must resist the temptation to micromanage. Let the quarterback call the plays! Step in only to provide direction, encouragement, or re-direction. This is tough, but essential.
  • Finally, don’t celebrate the win until the last play. For GPL, this means that we don’t celebrate getting that grant or donation until it’s in the bank!

So, there you have it…where libraries and Canadian football intersect. I am now more hopeful than ever that like in 1966, 1989, and 2007, the mighty green and white will be in Vancouver November 27 and win the 99th Grey Cup! Hurray for football, and of course, hurray for libraries!

Kitty Pope
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca                                                                  #34 October 2011


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