Develop a Business Attitude
The new buzz word in my world seems to be “develop a business attitude”. I’ve heard it from all levels of government, from consultants working on projects across the country, and even from my husband. But, exactly what is a business attitude?
Attitude is defined in many sources as “a way of looking at life”. So a business attitude is a way of looking at life through a business lens that focuses on: leadership, planning, metrics, productivity, innovation and communication. For example in library land:
1.) Leadership is fundamental to a business attitude. It includes taking personal responsibility for the libraries success, leading with the facts and, above all, a passion for what you are doing.
2.) Thoughtful planning: Most major business decisions are based on a sound business case and a substantial Return on Investments (ROI). This planning includes: GAP, environmental and risk analysis, options, quantitative and qualitative analysis, ‘deliverables’, budget, and measurable outcomes. Ultimately is the project economically viable? For most libraries this is a whole new world and we need to learn how to do this.
3.) Appropriate metrics to measure success and impact at every stage of the project are fundamental to a business attitude.
4.) Productivity in the business world takes into consideration what human resources and technologies are needed to provide the competitive edge. For libraries this is all about increasing productivity and embracing technology to control costs.
5.) A successful businesses attitude is built on innovation, which in library land we understand. In the business environment it includes brainstorming skills, and solving problems quickly. Business innovation also requires genuine creativity, after all, someone had to have the bright idea before it was designed, built, marketed and then sold.
6.) A business attitude requires skills as a strategic communicator to: write a compelling business case, speak publicly, negotiate a hard bargain and great marketing skills to promote and sell the product.
A business attitude does not diminish all those other great library attitudes and beliefs we hold near and dear about social inclusion and the public good. It’s just another layer to help plan and explain why we do what we do.
A business attitude that supports leadership, planning, metrics, productivity, innovation and communication is on my “to do” list this summer.
Have a great week and hurray for summer.