Its been well over a week since I got back from Aurora and it will take a whole lot longer before I can say that I have gotten my head around it all.
I can’t tell you all about what happened there. No point really, the old cliche really does apply here – ‘you had to be there…..’ Not only that, but at lot of what you get out of it is very individual. Everyone has a different experience. However, I will give you an idea of the sorts of things we did, but mainly I’ll write about what I got out of it and being a task type person, what I’m planning to do with what I got out of it.
We did a lot of learning. Learnt a lot about myself and about others and how to work with them. Learnt a lot about strategies and getting your point across to decision makers. Learnt about getting the best out of a group of people and how to develop a team to achieve that. Learnt that climbing mountains is hard work and that cricket is not necessarily the game we see played so professionally on TV. Learnt that to do all this is confronting, exhausting, challenging, inspiring, motivating and scary and requires a dedication to your profession that goes beyond your current position description. And that’s just what I can think of from the top of my head at the moment.
Also learnt that my thinking on where I am and where I’m going professionally was pretty much on the mark, which was very satisfying. I also learnt however, that although I achieve much on a regular basis, I can do more. I also was reminded of a lesson that my son taught me, that being that my priority is not necessarily the first one. And that lesson equally applies to my work as well as my family.
I learnt about presenting business cases, about being open with a group of people in an amazing environment. I learnt about change management and change styles and discovered that I wasn’t always what I thought I was – an interesting exploration into self. I learnt about how to really look at the library environment, learnt a lot about SWOT analyses, took a trip into the big picture of our profession, talked vision, examined risk-taking, confidence and putting yourself out there and much more.
So what have I come away with. First off I guess is the true realisation that we are a profession. And if that is truly the way of it, then I have to act professionally. So my first forays into personal change are to get my act together as a professional. I am starting to get some more ‘business-like’ clothes and think about my appearance a bit more – I’ve finally started the diet again, too much weight put on, some of it from the awesome food we had at Aurora, but also how I look when I go to work.
I have also taken the first step in refocusing myself at work and looking at how what I does fits in with my library’s goals and plans. I guess its all about me becoming a better follower, before I can become a good leader. I am also starting to look at visioning for my library in the work that I do and setting some concrete goals for the virtual services for which I am jointly responsible. I have asked (and had accepted) one of my senior managers to act as mentor for me in this process. And finally, I am preparing myself and my family for me to go back to full-time work next year, only with my family’s blessing however, after 9 years of working part-time.
A couple of staff members asked me today whether Aurora had changed me. I said to them that it hadn’t – what it had done was to refocus me and motivate me to do more – go higher I guess. Ultimately I guess that means I will change, but that’s the environment we live and work in, so I’m happy for that to happen.
For those of you who have heard rumours about Aurora, yes it did make me cry, but not everyone did. I never did discover the secret handshake and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make the most of their career as a librarian – not only for yourselves, but also for our amazing profession.