By Theresa Greco, Library Services Manager, HBR Consulting
There’s no denying that the pandemic spurred quite a bit of change and uncertainty for everyone in 2020; what we knew about our work life, home life and our social engagements changed overnight. People needed to quickly adapt to what was being termed the “new normal”. Fast forward to 2021 and although the stay-at-home orders and most mask mandates have been lifted, the world is still in complete chaos. Change and how we handle it will continue in the now “never normal” world.
This year’s PLLIP Summit, “Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change” offered attendees the opportunity to hear from experts about how to perceive change differently, and about the skills needed to survive and thrive in this new chaotic world. The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) hosts the Summit prior to the start of the AALL Annual Meeting each year to give legal information professionals at law firms and other organizations a chance to engage with their colleagues on new developments and on challenges they’re tackling in the legal information world.
Keynote speaker, April Rinne, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Flux”, kicked-off the day-long symposium by leading attendees through an exercise exploring their current relationships to change and offering alternative ways to consider change. Not all change is negative, Rinne assured us. As professionals we need to rethink and reconsider what really matters when things change. Rinne suggests that as information professionals we need to take advantage of the “flux” we’re experiencing and use it to reshape our future. Everything we do is rooted in mindset. If we can think positively about change, it will become a positive in our life.
Another interesting conversation occurred during the PLLIP Fireside Chat with David Lat. Lat shared his unique perspective on change as he took us through an intimate discussion around his three weeks on a ventilator after contracting COVID in early 2020. This and other life experiences have helped Lat realize that he needed to make personal and professional changes happen at different points in his life. He recognizes change as an opportunity to enrich his life and make it more fulfilling.
The summit ended on a high note with an energetic workshop led by Brie Leung, a seasoned facilitator and change agent. Brie offered attendees what she called her “4 Truths to Change”, basically four new ways to think about change.
Leung’s 4 Truths to Change are:
- Change is a process.
- People have an emotional, human reaction to change.
- Successful change creates great leaders.
- Change is constant and it isn’t going away.
While 2020 was a year of “reacting” to change; 2021 needs to be a year of “rethinking” change. As knowledge professionals we are positioned within our firms to provide information, offer solutions, and assist in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the legal community. As Rinne pointed out: this time of flux has given us an opportunity to embrace the new “never normal” and to rethink and reinvent everything we’ve known up until this point.
Are you up for tackling the new “never normal”?