In late October, I had the pleasure of hearing Beck Tench present a program at the Illinois Library Association annual conference. The title of her talk was “Librarians In Space: How To Make Space, Find Courage and Take Risks in Your Life and Library.”
Tench gave a great talk, offering insights creating a culture of risk taking on both personal and professional levels. I left with several take-aways.
- When it comes to taking risks, we can be our own worst enemies. This is not a new concept but Tench has an illuminating perspective.
- Small choices can lead to big things.
- Failure is learning.
- Courage and fear are companions.
The most fascinating part of Tench’s talk for me involved the vision I had for my library. For some time, I have been trying to explain to my staff what a culture of change looks like and how to be nimble on an organizational level. I have not yet been successful with conveying an intangible ideal as a vision. And here was Beck Tench, encapsulating what I am looking for at our library: failure! (Failure is learning!)
I was inspired to share her talk with my staff. So during my next monthly staff meeting, I showed a video of a version of the talk that she had posted online. I shared an example of a program that two staff members had tried for a year, recently deciding that it wasn’t working and to end it. We all applauded their beautiful failure. I encouraged everyone to bring ideas to their co-workers, department heads or me and we could discuss running with them.
One of my favorite things that Beck said was that fear is a companion to creativity. Imagine what could happen if we strive to embrace that on an organization level.