Growing and Changing as a Forever Learner


This summer I had the great privilege of attending the Holdsworth Campus Leadership Program conference in Dallas. One of the speakers was Sydney Finkelstein, the author of Superbosses.

One of the themes of his book and this conference was to compare really successful companies, such as HEB, with the successful schools we all strive to be. If companies want to meet the needs of their customers, and therefore stay in business, they must look at new ways of doing things. According to Mr. Finkelstein, when people don’t change, it’s not that they are unable to change, it’s that they are unwilling to change.

Libraries in Klein are where the golden thread of innovation lives. Librarians have already learned that we must adapt and change to meet the needs of the 21st Century Learner and School. Change doesn’t need to be scary. It doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. Look for baby steps you can take.

How do you change? According to Mr. Finkelstein, you need to follow these three steps:

  1. You have to be willing. It takes a combination of courage and curiosity.
  2. You need to come up with a better idea (or an innovation or a solution).
  3. You need to implement/execute the solution.

According to the Profile of a Leader, one must be a Forever Learner and model an insatiable desire to continuously improve and grow. Librarians, I believe, were born with that desire. It’s part of why we became librarians – the need to continuously learn new things.

The second thing a Forever Learner does is to thoughtfully disrupt the status quo. We do that, too. We like to encourage students to think.

We embrace “failing forward,” which I believe is the only true way to learn and grow. Mr. Finkelstein’s words about moving from failure to success tie in with this philosophy.

And lastly, I hope we all strive to be joyful, reflective, transparent, and deliberate in applying our learning to transform the world. I know the world sounds like a really big place, but when you think about it, a librarian touches the life of every child in the school. Those children go out into the world. Therefore, we impact the world.

There was one more thing Mr. Finkelstein said which really resonated with me. “When Sunday night feels just as good as Friday night, you know you’ve found the right thing.” As a forever learner, I’m grateful to have found the right thing in Klein.