What Would Machiavelli Do?: The Ends Justify the Meanness

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You may feel at times like you are the only person at your library who is interested in speaking at conferences or developing a Teen Advisory Board, for instance. You may be right, but you are definitely not the only librarian in the profession who is interested in these things.

Make some professional friends through your outlets: tweet, join the ALA Think Tank, volunteer for your state library association. You are guaranteed to find others who have the same interests as you, and you can commiserate and brainstorm with them.

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We have all had the experience of receiving a stroke of brilliance, only to have it summarily rejected by a superior, perhaps before it has even been reviewed. What's the roadblock? How can you get your ideas the attention they deserve? The most important thing to realize is that managers are busy people. They don't necessarily have time to discuss all their concerns with you.

Rejecting your proposal out-of-hand is more expedient. If you present your idea in a way that acknowledges the demands on their time, they are more likely to read your proposal and thereby be persuaded. The worst thing you can do is bring up a problem without offering a solution. The most politically astute libraries align their own missions with those of their parent organizations, whether they serve a university or local government. The parent organization will be held responsible for—and therefore cares about—fulfilling its own mission. He will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful.

Goals keep you motivated. Yet, unrealistic goals just make you frustrated, while goals that are too small are insufficiently inspirational. While it is not impossible, it is extremely improbable that you will be a library director before the age of 30, or that you will change the way libraries lend e-books. Setting your heart on something improbable will only lead to disappointment.

Regardless of how static you may feel your current situation to be, you do have the ability to effect change in your own life, your workplace, and the profession. It does take work, however, as most great things do. Set goals.

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Find other people who keep you motivated. Hold onto your passion.

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She tweets as mlhodge and blogs at bluestockinglibrarian. We are always looking for ways to improve customer experience on Elsevier. We would like to ask you for a moment of your time to fill in a short questionnaire, at the end of your visit. If you decide to participate, a new browser tab will open so you can complete the survey after you have completed your visit to this website.

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Home Elsevier Connect Prince or plebe? Prince or plebe? The prince: success as a supervisor Lead by example The greatest influence you ever exert may be unconsciously wielded: what are your subordinates taking away from your leadership style? Mentor promising employees While you should, of course, strive to have a positive relationship with all your subordinates and coworkers, special attention should be paid to those who show exceptional interest or drive. Be passionate about your ideas You can't expect others to get on board with an idea if you're not excited yourself.

Webinar: Insights from the Machiavellian Librarian Do librarians "rock the boat"? The brass ring, ironically, went to Butterworth, the equally tiny titan at the head of a rival network. The fact that it was Butterworth who told him the news made people laugh, though. It was rich! And what a coup for Butterworth! Everybody loved it out there. But is your world all that different, really? Why not assume the worst? Machiavelli would.

UNBOXED: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

On the contrary, the at a distance. God bless him! Yes, a great enemy is to be cherished, nurtured, and loved, just like a friend. True Machiavellians who are serious about their hatreds as well as their loves, like Mr. Nixon, have a list.

What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness

Not a long list like his. But a good, solid grouping of the few important enemies whose death, at first a source of rejoicing, would leave a bittersweet hole where your living, breathing enmity used to be. Begin in anger. There are, in a given week, three, four, five people who have enraged you on personal level, right? Nurture your rage, but do not feed it with tinder.

You will notice that over the course of the next few days, you will feel more moderate about several of the persons you wanted to have impaled on a spike just last Tuesday. Allow yourself to mellow. It will, to your surprise, have grown. If so, congratulations. You have a candidate. Look at your existing list.

Be aware that there is only room for five, at most, on it, unless you are a very big screwball indeed.


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An overly long list is a burden, and creates problems of its own, leading more than one person to have done stupid, selfdestructive things. So take a name off before you put another one on, if you can. Add the new name. Then open a bottle of champagne and have a drink. A new enemy is an event to be savored. Begin plotting and taking active steps to destroy your enemy from a distance, but do nothing to escalate your status to wartime footing. Business wars should not be based on hatred of an enemy, no matter how loathsome he might be.

Business wars should be based on strategic necessity, and may, in fact, be conducted against friends as often as the opposite.

The worst thing you can do is get out of touch. You have a right to one, no matter what kind of monster you may be, or become. Even Hitler had friends of some sort. Guys that hung around with him, talked a little shop, kicked around solutions to things. Richard Nixon, one of the most tragically unlikable men ever to enter public life, had Walter Annenberg and Bebe Rebozo to hunker down with when everybody else was against him. Pals, you know. Getting bigger.

For big Machiavellis who operate macro-style, this means gobbling up other entities and building cash flow. And that would be fine for the little fellow, you know? But not for Wall Street. Wall Street wants you to grow 15 percent a year! Who can grow 15 percent a year just on improved quality and stuff like that? No, growth that makes Wall Street pop up and stay there requires you to buy your competitor and put him out of business.

The prince who wishes to make the stock dance must buy revenue. That is, purchase entire companies whose incoming cash can simply be applied to your own to give the illusion of enormous revenue growth, quarter after quarter, year after year. And we are! We are!


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