Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t those who just follow like sheep and are happy to agree regardless. Also how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree. While a lot of people would agree with this it isnt always put in to practice which can and is detrimental. Part of the problem was that it takes time to transform perception, even if data shows that something is incorrect it isnt always that simple. We not only need to Dare to disagree, but also dare to believe in an alternative view or belief based on data and new information. We must ourselves be open to changing our own views or consider other possibilities.

Link: Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

Brett L. Simmons Positive Organisational Behaviour

Lead From Anywhere
There is a great message in this piece which is that leadership behaviors should be exhibited from everyone even when they might not have the formal title or position. Leadership is something you never stop learning how to do well, and you should start learning how to lead well before you are ever formally expected to assume that role. This point really stood out to me because its something I have been giving a lot of thought too lately. There are many different types of leader and there are many different ways to lead. Knowing your environment is crucial to how you exhibit your leadership qualities but you should always be striving to do so in some capacity. It can be great to be looked at as a leader and your opinion to be held in high regard but sometimes that is not how a situation unfolds but you must be willing to work with people and get the best results and if you have the know how, you should show how to do so.

Effective Organizational Citizens Help, Then Challenge
With recent experiences I can honestly say I fall foul of what is being said here. If you show up do your job and do what is expected of you there can be no complaints. However if you meet these goals and strive for more by helping others around you, then you can be considered effective. This year has been tough with the amount of work I found at my front door and the temptation in group work is to do what is expected of you and no more. At times thats exactly what I have done, not too be lazy but I had to make a decision what could I feasibly manage, although it never sits well with me. Being aware that I need to strive for more is the first step and there are a few words of advice in this piece along the lines of are you willing to voice your concerns about the direction of the work team or company. Another good point is; Are you willing to risk disapproval in order to express your belief about what’s best for the organization. This is not easy and playing the role of the villain is sometimes necessary as I found out in my group work last year and referred to in my blog post Developing my PLN

The Management Blog

The Key to Managing Change
This is a topic that is always relevant no matter who you are or what you do. A qoute I read the other day was the greatest measure of distance is time. Things never stand still and it is up to you to change and adapt with them. Which is easier said then done. It is a constant push to take yourself out of your comfort zone and push on, to take risks that you believe you will move you to the next stage. Constant change is a business reality, and organizations must continually adapt to their environments to stay competitive or risk becoming obsolete.

Everything You Know About Leadership Is Wrong
I couldn’t agree more with this post. It really gets to the roots of what I believe is an issue with leadership. Firstly a leader shouldn’t hold themselves over other works and think because they are in charge that what they say and do is always correct. Secondly I have touched on this before the problem of dealing with people. People working together have personalities that either merge or collide. The collisions can cause tension. If that tension isn’t addressed, it’ll surface in workplace conflict, hurt feelings, and lost productivity. Leaders must adapt to the people they work with and learn how handle different people and groups effectively if they themselves want to achieve their goals

Group work: Community Repositories

This artefact deals with the group work I did for this actual class. The topic dealt with was Community Repositories an interesting area of research on its own but one I have come across in my capstone for the maritime museum which will take up most of summer. Before being assigned this project, I didnt know much about digital repositories in general or community repositories in particular at all. This meant a lot of research was needed in order to be able to teach the topic to my classmates. Seeing firsthand the practical issue involved in collecting, storing, digitising and disseminating makes the subject more real, and sometimes that can be useful when studying. It was an interesting subject to research, and with web 2.0 and current innovations it is set to expand exponentially in the future.

I think everybody in college would agree with me that group work gets a collective groan when its announced at the start of the semester. There are many reasons for this but mainly people prefer to work alone. While saying that everyone also understands the importance of it and its “real world” practicalities. From a personal point of view I feel I work well in groups. I am not disruptive and I get on with the task at hand and will do whatever work is assigned to me. One quip I’ve heard this year is that I am too introverted and tend to take a back seat in the discussion process. There are two reasons for this, firstly this year I have found myself working on subject matter I genuinely have no interest in and secondly but more importantly I like to try and figure people out. This doesn’t always pay off in college because groups are thrown together and the work is all done over a short period of time but it is extremely useful when working with people for prolonged periods. Knowing when to be quiet and when to speak up, knowing when to push on or when to take a step back and let everyone have their own space.

Dealing with different personalities is difficult, it pains me sometimes when others go about a task in a fashion I would describe as anarchy. I have had some horror stories this year with people. This particular project however I was blessed. I have worked with two of the group before so knew exactly how it was going to work and I couldn’t laud enough compliments on the other two. I have an open mind going in to group work though and once you figure people out it doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. Too often people are worrying about their individual grade being brought down by group work and instantly decide they will take over which doesnt yield the best results at all. I’m glad to say I can see the bigger picture and that while sometimes a grade will be lower thats not the real point of the exercise. Its something I know I need a lot more practice on and I do need to voice my opinion more often but I’m never shy from expressing an opinion.

To Solve a Problem, Think Like a Mad Child

This week’s selected readings were highly interesting. I started off the Howard and Davis article which looked at how problems are solved. It took ideas, firstly evidence based practice (EBP) which deals with solving a problem with previously thought out solutions. Looking at what is already in place to solve upcoming problems essentially. Secondly was design thinking which brings in the concept of iterations which was an extremely important concept last semester in a class I took called system analysis and design. This idea is to go beyond what we already know and come up with new creative solutions to solve new creative problems. The article continued to try and create a hybrid between these two solution ideologies by taking the best of both.
This brings me nicely to the second reading Bowler et al, It was quite a long reading but honestly the most interesting and one I know I am going to come back to again and again. It didn’t particularly throw up any new concepts I haven’t come across before but it did amalgamate them in to one piece. The corner stone of the article was user centred design (UCD). This idea is based on creating a solution by involving the user in the process. Quite often the user is ignored even though they are the one who will end up using whatever the product will be. In this article it looked at how the user searches for information. The idea of using social tagging was very interesting and kind of ties in to the crowd sourcing I spoke about last week. By combining the power of a lot of people you can eventually create a solution that benefits the greater majority.

Some of the best solutions are quite often the ones you are not thinking about. It is not always simple. I suppose that’s why people say geniuses tend to be a bit mad. So I am not sure if it is good thing to be sane all of the time. Even in the Bowler et al, article when they looked at participatory web interface design with children you can see the logic behind it. Children think in a completely different fashion to adults and come out with some extraordinarily creative thoughts. When trying to solve a problem or come up with solutions, it is important to think outside the box, or even think like a child or a mad man or a bit of both. While some of the solutions that are thought will be utterly useless by applying the thought process in the Howard and Davis article eventually a solution will created and it could be great.

Howard & Davis 2011. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice

Bowler et al, 2011. Issues in User Centred Design in LIS