Friday, November 28, 2008

Good Morning, Miscellaneous Thoughts

William Randolph Hearst (1863 – 1951), American newspaper magnate, politician, c1910

I took a walk up to my local library this morning and dropped off a few books. I also picked up two new books, Management Skills for New Managers Based on the Bestselling Seminar by the American Management Association by Carol W. Ellis, and The Numerati by Stephen Baker.

Right now, I am thinking about the concept of management. It is not something which I like to think about. In some ways, I know it is not something which I am used to. My upbringing always hammered me with the idea of being an excellent specialist. That is exactly what I am a senior librarian, a librarian II as they call it in civil service.

All of the librarian III positions are management positions unless you happen to be lucky enough to get into a specialty. The specialist positions like collection development are fast disappearing in the library world. I did not do well the last time I tried for a management type position.

This means if I have ambition, I have to reprogram my attitudes about managing people as well as change my skills considerably. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes time and patience. The first step is improving my time management and organization skills. Having the appearance of organization whether or not you work hard automatically changes the way people think about you.

I am an idiosyncratic person, I don't do well with recruiters. As Popeye says, "I yam what I yam." I have always found my own work. I am not going to go into a recruiters office and say, "Here I am find me a wonderful new position." Acting classes are not going to help me with this.

As I read and understand the various management books, they say one thing. Perform exceptionally and people will notice and seek you out. Resumes and complaining don't get you very far.

The third component is managing people. This is another skill which I will have to learn. It will not be easy for me. I unfortunately don't have lots of extra money to spend on improving my skills. I am thinking of doing a couple units of MIT Open Courseware. There are no credits for these courses. I am strong believer in self-education.

Right now, this leaves me with three goals, improving my organizational skills, performing better, and learning some basic management skills over the next year.

I finished going through Management Skills for New Managers by Carol W. Ellis. This is not a management theory book. It is a set of checklists, questionnaires, and surveys on how you interact with your current reports. The whole book is about creating a better work environment. There is no theory. It is all actions. For a manager to properly use this book they would have to be managing a number of people, communicating, training, evaluating, and coaching them.

It is of not much use for someone who wants to learn management theory. It does give an overview of what you are supposed to be doing. The book seems practical enough. But, you need to already be in a management position to use it properly. It is a skills workbook. I might find it useful later.

I have started reading The Numerati by Stephen Baker. So far, it is a book about the people who make mathematical models of human behavior for different corporate and business purposes. I rather like the writing. There is a strong human interest angle.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I have been playing with twitter lately. I have a learned a few things about the service. Apparently, it is more important to be followed than follow people. In order to be able to follow more than 2000 people, you generally have to have over 2000 followers. Once you reach this number you contact twitter and they generally let you go above their limits.

I also have been trying out an application called Mr. Tweet, This is supposed to generate more "influential"people to follow. I don't see how it works, but I am trying it out.

I checked my sitemeter today to see who has come to visit this site. There was one rather interesting list of book sites. Apparently, a plug-in for internet explorer, Zemanta has added my site to a long list of book sites .


NathanKP said...

Zemanta added my book review blog to their list of sites as well. I don't know what this means or why they did it, but it has given me a few visits, so I'm happy overall.

NathanKP - Inkweaver Review

Book Calendar said...

They are probably doing the human editing parts of the search engine before they do the automated part. The automated parts generally need to have a set of selected sites chosen by humans to appear a little more rational. The algorithms for adding sites to search engines don't always work right. Mahalo is an example of a human edited search engine. Google also checks their search results with human quality raters.

NathanKP said...

That makes a lot of sense. At least that means that you and I have book blogs that are deemed to be quality!