Sally Brown on managing change

Several weeks ago we had our annual Staff Development Dinner. Its a dinner for all library staff (voluntary) where we come and get together for good food, good company and a special guest speaker, who this year was former fashion designer and amazing lady Sally Browne.

As I have been on holidays and so have been pretty out of the loop re: library related stuff, I thought I would get around to blogging my notes from Sally’s presentation.

She has an amazing story to tell and tells it in an entertaining way, through the use of stories. She spoke of managing change, which she has had a lot of her in her own life and which she has done with an amazingly positive attitude, regardless of circumstances. My notes below are a snapshot of what she spoke on, so it will be a bit choppy, but I hope there is something in it for you too.

She began with the story of the twins – one a pessimist, the other an optimist. Long story short, to test the level of these, the pessimist was sent into a room full of toys, the optimist into a room full of manure. The pessimist was found to be crying over how the batteries would run out and how the toys will break and the optimist was found dancing in the manure – because “with that amount of manure, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!”

We are being given permission to be different.

There is power in having a positive attitude, especially in the face of adversity.

Sally’s fashion business strengthened significantly, when their staff meetings changed to discussing what went right this week and how do they build on it, rather than the witch hunt it used to be.

From a health point of view, when we exercise our emotions beyond a reasonable amount, ie. through stress, our heart rate goes up.

“There are no bad moments, just awakening moments and I have woken up a few times.”

“When things get really bad, as long as you’re breathing, there’s hope.”

There is a fine line between new services and traditional services.

We have a choice – change is difficult. We can be victors or victims.

With change, there will always be complaining, regardless of how well it is managed.

Change is about pushing out of your comfort zone.

When changing, your small still voice tries to take over – you can submit to it or breakthrough. If you breakthrough you can really find out what you are made of.

If we have family, friends, food and freedom, we have everything!

A psychological happiness assessment with 13 questions has 11 questions on belonging. Which is why third world people are generally happier, because although they have no material possessions, they have each other, which many well-to-do westerners don’t.

We have the potential within us to live the lives we want – lack of money and fear of failure can hold us back. How much baggage do we carry that is holding us back. ie. guilt, resentment.

Sally’s advice:
– Not going to get far if we are carrying negative baggage
– Slow down and take time for people
– Exercise your sense of humour
– So easy to criticise, why not build up people by complimenting instead
(warm fuzzies)

That’s just my two cents worth, from a fun and inspiring evening.


    • Gemma on October 17, 2007 at 2:42 am

    That’s a great incentive from your workplace. It’s also great to hear about how we can learn from those in other sectors apart from the “library world”.

    • Michelle McLean on October 17, 2007 at 4:52 am

    Yes it is and its also a great night of catching up with staff from other branches that you don’t get to see. We can learn much from outside libraries, its great to have the oppurtunity to do so.

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