Sometimes failure is an option

I love TED Talks.  If you aren’t familiar with TED, I encourage you to learn more about this non-profit organization.  I noticed the other day on TED the following talk by former General Stanley McChrystal, and this really surprised me as I didn’t think former military leaders fit the profile nor the politics of your typical TED Talk presenter.  If you look at the comments, apparently a lot of people feel this way. However, regardless of your politics, I think this is a good talk on leadership in today’s world, and the difficulties that come with it:

I think why I appreciate this talk is that it addresses the issue of failure, and I believe that one of the major reasons many libraries don’t adapt to provide the best possible service to their users is because they are afraid to fail.  According to McChrystal, “leaders can let you fail, and yet not let you be a failure”.  I have worked in environments where failure was “not an option” and I have worked in environments where I was encouraged to try new things (and, if a new program or idea didn’t succeed, it was a learning experience for all, and not a personal failure).  What about you? What is your work environment like? Is failure acceptable?



Hi, I’m Ryan Livergood. I am the Executive Director of the Warren-Newport Public Library. I was previously the Director of Libraries in Arlington, Massachusetts, Assistant Director of the Dover Town Library in Dover, Massachusetts (a Library Journal finalist for “Best Small Library in America”), and I got my start in public librarianship with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. I also spent time in the Library Automation field with Sirsi Corporation (now SirsiDynix). Other positions I have had include teaching English in China and serving in the Peace Corps. I received my MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My wonderful family consists of the best wife on the planet, my two young sons, and a mostly lovable cat. I love sports, especially college basketball and football. I also love to travel, watch great films, and enjoy amazing meals with a nice glass of red wine or a craft beer. Oh, I love reading too, but I’m a librarian, so you kind of knew that already, right?

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