The enemy within…
They say knowing your enemy is key – so too is knowing your friends and colleagues. Strengths, weaknesses, ultimately what makes them tick or excites them.
So why is it so strange that as professionals we often forget to get to know our employer and the business for which you work? We may think we do – ‘yes I know all the administrative staff’ or ‘I know all the Partners/Librarians/Managers’ but do we really know the issues facing the organization? What is keeping the seniuor managers awake at night? Lack of sales? Contracts going sour? Fewer users? Competition tougher?
Any service needs to align itself to its potential customers or users. It has to be relevant, current and mirroring the organizations objectives. No information service is an island so hiding behind ‘they’ve always liked the service to provide ABC’ is not valid. Those making the nice comments are not usually the ones taking the tough decisions. Often many senior managers are not information professionals. They will look at what contribution the service makes to an organization. What could they do without? Everyone has Google! How much money could we save?
Knowing, understanding and taking a real interest in the business strategies and objectives of your organization means you can work as a ‘partner’ to offer solutions to issues, be proactive, engage in informed small talk at the coffee machine. Attend social events and network with your colleagues. Yes it can be tedious, it can be fun! You will become more than a faceless number and representing your team will not go unnoticed. It has to be said that even aligning your service to your organizations business, in the current climate, all ‘rules of engagement’ have gone out of the window – but you may at least see the writing on the wall and plan accordingly. You may find that you enjoy the interaction across functional groups in your organization – and as we keep saying and hearing – we have transferable skills so those contacts made could be your next career opportunity.