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Time for a quick round-up of last week’s CILIP CDG conference: Working smarter: making more an impact with less. I tweeted the day, but foolishly didn’t set up a twapperkeeper, so I’ve harvested my tweets, and put them here. If you want more detail about what was said and when, try the tweets (read from bottom up), as this blog post will be more of an overview 🙂

I’d booked for this right at the last minute, as I was going to be in London the next day anyway, and am delighted I did! It was an interesting and useful day, where I heard some good ideas, met some lovely people – and, of course, won a bottle of Sue Hill champagne in the raffle!

I heard twice from Susie Kay from The Professionalism Group. I’d been intrigued by the descriptions of Susie’s sessions, and they were a strong pull in signing up for the conference. The main thing I brought away from both of these sessions (How to reduce the hidden costs of meetings and Professionalism for success) is that professionalsim and professional behaviour has a profoundly positive impact on your working environment. Professionals consistently monitor their own behaviour, and will always be looking for ways they can make improvements – whether this is by finding innovative alternatives to time-consuming and unproductive meetings, or ensuring that they create a positive impression on colleagues and managers. I was impressed with Susie’s definition of professionalism as ‘a way for an individual to have an entirely positive effect on those around them’ – what I need to do now is to keep finding ways to do that!

Susie’s points sat very well with the talk from Carol Brooks about training and development on a shoestring. Part of being a professional is a commitment to your own personal and professional development – you should always be thinking about learning and development opportunities. One of Carol’s points was that – especially in lean times – we need to share experience and learn from each other. Teaching is just as valid for cpd as learning – and you will learn while you teach. I particularly liked Carol’s suggestion that managers should shadow/second their managees, to get first hand experience and understanding of whether the support they provide is sufficient and appropriate.

Carol was also very emphatic about the benefits of mentoring, both for mentor and mentee (or mental and manatee, according to @jaffne). This was of particular interest to me, as I’ve just come out of a mentoring relationship (chartership), and am planning to become a mentor myself. I had a really productive and positive relationship with my chartership mentor, and am finding that I miss it. I think mentoring is something I’ll try to stay involved with throughout my career.

I’m writing most of this on my phone on the train (hellooo typos!), so will skip over fundraising with Kathy Roddy and marketing on a shoestring with Andy Ryan with less attention than they deserve. The main point I took from both of these sessions was the importance of leveraging existing relationships and networks. Marketing and fundraising have, I think, more in common than I had realised.

Overall, an excellent and enjoyable day, that was well-worth getting up at 5:30 for 🙂

Well, the portfolios are done, bound, and in the post, and it’s time to reflect on what Chartership and the chartering process have meant to me.

Several people have asked me about this already, and I think I’ve tended to be fairly vague and desultory – ‘well, it’s something you’ve got to do, isn’t it? just a few hoops to jump through… but not too bad overall’. But do I really feel like this about Chartership? And, if so, why did I do it at all?

Now, my mentor was a lovely, lovely lady, who I really enjoyed spending time with, but this doesn’t tell the whole story of why I found the mentor relationship to be by far the most valuable facet of the Chartership process. Why? Because of the huge importance of simply having someone to tell me that it’s ok – nay, required! – to say good things about yourself.

I have problems with this, probably a result of an upbringing in which there was no middle ground between becoming modesty and vulgar boasting, but I’ve been getting better over the years, and have generally come to manage to admit when I’m not so shoddy at summat. So why do I – and others! – still have this problem when it comes to saying that we’re actually really quire decent info profs?

Well, guys, I’m afraid it’s all your fault. Yup, this is one I’m putting squarely on the shoulders of my peer group and social networks. Not because you’re mean and horrible, but because you’re just all so darn good at things!

We measure success, not against some abstract ideal, but from a concrete comparison of our achievements with those of our peers. As the general level of achievement rises, so do the criteria considered to denote “success”. and boy-oh-boy, are you lot a load of over-achievers 😉

Just from memory, and in the last few weeks alone, people in my Twitter network have won prizes and awards; have got exciting new jobs and promotions; have given papers and written articles; have got distinctions and started PhDs. My peer group is enthusiastic, intelligent, active, engaged. They serve on project boards, plan conferences, and write manifestos. They write ridiculously thoughtful and erudite blog posts. They edit journals and run workshops and make websites and implement innovative services and oh my guts and garters do these people ever sleep?

And yes, ok, I do some of those things too. But they’ve become the norm, which in some ways is such a brilliant, wonderful, inspiring thing that it makes me want to cry a bit and give you all a great big hug. But it also means that it can be easy to overlook the smaller achievements; to count yourself as insignificant among this gallery of stars, and we need the positive reinforcement of feeling that we have achieved to continue achieving.

So that is what Chartership has done for me. It has given me a still, small place outside the glamour and pressures of my peer group, and allowed me to measure my achievements against myself. It’s given me the chance and the encouragement to say ‘I done good’, and to remember that, sometimes, it’s about what the profession can give me, as well as about what I can give the profession. There may have been some hoop-jumping involved, but those hoops have helped to strengthen and affirm my sense of place within the profession. So there may have been swearing and grumbling and groaning, but I’m glad I did it. [DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to edit/delete/throw a hissy fit if I don’t pass ;)]

I was invited to attend this training day by my co-chair on the SLA Europe ECCA committee, Lyndsay Rees-Jones. The day was run by the CILIP Membership Support Unit for the CILIP Career Development Group (CDG) regional New Professionals Support Officers (NPSOs). I’m not an NPSO – yesterday, I wasn’t even a member of CDG – but was invited along to share experiences of working with new professionals.

What I encountered was a group of bright, friendly, and enthusiastic people, brimming with ideas. Some I had heard of through their involvement in various projects, such as the 2009 New Professionals Conference, but this was the first chance I’d had to meet them.

Maria Cotera, president of CDG, introduced the day with a clear explanation of where CDG and the regional NPSOs fit into the CILIP structure. Then Kathy Ennis of MSU, Lyndsay, and Maria spoke about previous CDG events – mainly the new professionals’ conference and the graduate day. They asked for input from people who had attended these events, and Ned Potter and Emma Illingworth gave some interesting insight about their experiences of presenting at the new professionals conference and how it has affected their career.

Kathy also mentioned the “Big Conversation” that will be starting In Jan 2010, about the future of CILIP over the next 10 years. She was very definite that new professionals should be very deeply involved in making the decisions about the future of the profession, and said that she had recommended that the leader of the Big Conversation should be under 35.

We also had a chance to brainstorm ideas for future incarnations of CILIP Graduate Day, to involve opening up the audience, and taking it on the road. This produced some excellent ideas, and showed a lot of consensus in what we, as new professionals, feel is important for new professionals.

Overall, a great day. I’ve now joined CDG (can’t believe I wasn’t a member before!), and am going to have the chance to work with them again in the future, which is very exciting 😀 I also got to meet some great new peers and do some good networking. (During which I found myself vociferously defending ASKPro – I don’t think I realised how strongly I felt about it until I was challenged!)

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