Part 2: Three LIANZA Projects

Laurinda Thomas, LIANZA President Elect

Yesterday I published part one of an interview with LIANZA President Elect Laurinda Thomas about the Strengthening the Profession projects that LIANZA has recently announced.

In part one Laurinda answers some general questions about the projects – deliverables, terms of reference, selection criteria, time commitments, and skills of working party members and the role of Council members.

And in today’s post Laurinda shares her views on each of the three projects – future skills, emerging leaders, and #brandlibraries.

Future Skills

Sally: Is it expected that Victoria University of Wellington, Open Polytechnic and Te Wānanga o Raukawa will be part of the working party? What will their involvement be?
Laurinda: No, it’s not expected, but if they’d like to be involved that’s great.  If the working party is looking for expert advice from LIS training providers, then we can definitely arrange that. LIANZA has ties into current LIS programmes, so there is an avenue for us to have a discussion there, and if, as a result of this project we see a current or looming gap in offerings, we’d definitely be talking to them.

The project aim suggests a broad remit that includes education and professional development. Does the scope of this project include recommendations for training providers other than LIANZA or is it restricted to professional development?
Yes, it does include recommendations for training providers. We also recognise that there are an increasing number of areas of LIS specialisation in different sectors, and it would be nearly impossible for one provider, LIANZA or anyone else, to cover all those needs.

This project seems ideal for workshops and discussions with members. Is this envisaged?
We’re open to the approach of the working group. There is time built into the project to accommodate this approach, and we’d definitely expect some testing of the ideas to make sure it’s a valid model.

Emerging Leaders

Does LIANZA have a definition of emerging leaders? Could all graduates be emerging leaders?
No, we don’t have a definition. My personal feeling is that people decide to (or are encouraged to) take up leadership opportunities or roles at different times in their careers.  Graduates could be one area to target, but it’s not the only area.

Some aspects of emerging leaders may cross-over with the future skills project ie leadership, mentoring etc. How does LIANZA envisage alignment?
The Council sponsors will have a role in making sure that any project cross-over is talked about, and work can happen cooperatively where it makes sense. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be the only way to get alignment – although they will be separate working parties, it doesn’t mean that they can’t talk to each other!

Does LIANZA envisage something similar to Aurora and NLS in Australia, or do they envisage something different?
They are models that have been talked about, and could potentially form part of a solution. There are also options around whether we could do something like this ourselves, or if we find a way for New Zealanders to have better access to existing options. But that’s part of what the working party can consider.

I think the biggest sticking point in the successful implementation of this project will be managers rather than emerging leaders. How will the working party be guided through this potential issue?
This is something that came up when we talked about the project. The second deliverable (‘Recommend actions for LIANZA to support managers in mentoring and developing new professionals with leadership potential’) was a response to that exact issue. However there also need to be ways that emerging leaders can get support and opportunities if their manager isn’t able to provide that, for whatever reason.

Part of getting successful outcomes in this project will be about identifying the barriers that are out there and figuring out realistic strategies to get over or around them.

#brandlibraries

Is the working party expected to gain sign-off from all sectors before the brand is promoted? What happens if a brand cannot be agreed upon?
The working party will be expected to gain sign-off, but it’s unlikely Council would expect a kind of ‘all sectors’ sign off (especially since it’s not always clear who exactly represents a certain sector). At a minimum it would need Council sign-off and some vetting process from the sector. We’re open to suggestions on how that happens. I do think it’s important to remember that if this project is targeting the key decision makers, then that the brand needs to speak strongly to them also.

With a budget of $50,000 did you consider hiring branding experts to do this (or part of it) on behalf of LIANZA?
Yes, and the budget is primarily there for the development of a brand. However there’s work that needs to be done prior in thinking about what that brand needs to say and to whom, and since our pockets aren’t infinite, we’ll need to do a chunk of that work ourselves. We also know a huge amount about these stakeholders, and we shouldn’t underestimate that or outsource it unnecessarily.

Did the Council consider that a key stakeholder may be the general population and gaining their respect and recognition could have greater leverage?
I think both approaches have merit and are needed. The #brandlibraries project is looking at a targeted intervention in a short period of time. Influencing the general population is a long-term strategy, and one that’s going to require significant resources. I don’t see the two as incompatible though.

This project has the potential to provide tools for the general population to influence those decision makers. I guess the adage comes in that we can do anything we want, but not everything we want!

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If you have any comments, suggestions or further questions about the projects please do contact Laurinda via email: laurinda.thomas@dia.govt.nz or Twitter: @laurindathomas or post a comment below (these can be anonymous). Expressions of interest (attached to each project’s Terms of Reference) close 8am Monday 16 July 2012.

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