Tasks for Modern Info Pros: Walk the Floors
Roughly one year ago, SLA published The Evolving Value of Information Management, a report summarizing the results of research commissioned by SLA and the Financial Times. The report, which was based on surveys of and interviews with information professionals and senior information users, identified five essential attributes for modern information professionals. The report also set forth a list of 12 key tasks that information professionals must perform in order to develop the five attributes.
Several SLA members have agreed to share their thoughts about the 12 tasks. In this post, Tom Rink, a librarian at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and SLA’s 2015 president-elect, explains how to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization and create opportunities to contribute to successful outcomes.
Networking is an immensely important skill for the modern information professional. In the pre-Internet era, networking consisted of getting out, meeting and greeting, and engaging in face-to-face, focused interactions at conferences, meetings, and receptions. With the explosion of the Internet and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), networking has taken on a whole new look and feel. We now have many more options and opportunities to network than ever before, and we should take advantage of them all.
But just because it’s easier than ever to network from your desk or mobile device does not mean that face-to-face interactions are no longer valuable. In fact, I would posit quite the opposite. Networking is about building relationships and collaborating, and while you may be able to use social media to enhance your networking efforts, nothing beats face-to-face interaction for building and cementing relationships. Your networks, whether professional or personal, become a source for support and advice, a collaborative outlet for sharing information and new ideas, and a breeding ground for discovering new opportunities.
Networking should also not be limited to your time away from the office while attending conferences and events. You should be actively networking within your workplace—getting away from your desk, “walking the floors,” visiting other departments, and introducing yourself. You should be continually seeking out new opportunities to make a contribution. Let the world within your workplace walls know who you are and how you can help everyone succeed.
This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In earlier posts, Leslie Reynolds wrote about understanding the business and said that it is “your business to know their business,” and Nora Martin discussed the need to proactively create solutions. By networking and walking the floors, you can achieve both of these.
As you walk the floors, take these action steps:
- Become actively engaged with your organization by joining committees, attending meetings and proactively sharing your ideas.
- Meet people outside your usual work circle by volunteering to work on projects and task forces.
- Make every personal interaction, whether at the water cooler or via e-mail, a chance to strengthen a connection.
These simple steps will help you gain a bigger-picture view of your organization and enable you to better understand and respond to the information needs and/or priorities of your co-workers.
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