Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lyrasis summit takeaway - Just Start!

On Tues.and Weds. of this week I attended a meeting for library consortium leaders hosted by Lyrasis at their Atlanta headquarters. It's a real pleasure to gather with this group of colleagues and have the opportunity to exchange ideas, challenges, solutions and successes. Their combined expertise is staggering and the group is a think tank for library collaboration. Over the course of our two days together I was reminded of a few familiar adages. The first is if you've seen one consortium, you've seen one consortium! Even though we share so many common features, have similar missions and speak the same language, we are each unique. Whether it's our funding streams, our budgets, our size, our geography, our governance or our infrastructure, each of us has distinct characteristics. In an effort to compile a snapshot of those commonalities and distinctions I ran a survey back in 2005. I've tweaked it a bit to reflect changes in technology and I'm running it again in 2010. If you represent a consortium I would appreciate it if you would complete the survey. It will remain open until the end of Nov. After I compile the results I'll share what I've learned here.

The second adage, which I quote often, is the perfect is the enemy of the good! I thought of this again in Atlanta as I listened to various consortium leaders talking about innovative projects or programs that didn't get off the ground because every imaginable potential shortcoming or problem couldn't be completely addressed in advance (my interpretation, not theirs). Seeking perfection usually results in paralysis. How often have you seen a reality show about hoarding where the compulsive hoarder claims to be a perfectionist? Uh, how's that workin' for ya? I remember when I was in my late 20s and trying to decide whether I should quit my job and risk pursuing an education. I was sitting on a park bench churning the decision over and over and an older woman sat down next to me and just started making conversation. I shared with her what I was struggling with and she gave me the best advice I've ever had. She turned to me and said "Just start." (I stared back blankly) "Just start taking steps in the direction of what you want. If obstacles arise you'll either overcome them or not. But at least you'll know." Nike said it best. Just Do It!

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