Apply fundamental management theories and principles to the administration of records and recordkeeping organizations
Competency F is critically important for an archivist or records manager. In practice the primary concern of the archivist or records manager is the records or content itself in its many forms in use, in transit or in storage. This content is the lifeblood of the organization and it flows throughout the various operational structures and gives substance to business transactions.
In order to be able to understand business context, rights, risk, technical issues or any other key concerns the archivist or records manager must be able to interface effectively with stakeholders in every direction and at many management levels. This demands a finely tuned understanding of the connections between the moving parts of an organization and its internal cultural and political dynamics. Very little can be accomplished without knowing how to motivate people and how to convey the appropriate amount of detail and urgency at the right moment in time. Often this is where most of the RM’s effort is applied, in gathering input, in building consensus, informing users that archives and records management is “a thing.”
The success of an archive, RM program or information governance depends on the ability of the archivist or records manager to understand how to set and achieve realistic qualitative and quantitative goals using well established management practices. In several courses, beginning with MARA 204, I had the opportunity to learn about management and leadership through the eyes of accomplished professionals and experience through their accounts the building of programs from the ground up or from legacy systems. In my evidence for this competency I demonstrate my leadership and decision-making abilities through realistic scenarios that are based on actual organizations.
Supporting Evidence 1
The first evidence that supports my mastery of this competency is a group project for MARA 204 The backstory for the Colusa County Public Library: Strategic Plan is that the organization suffered tremendous fiscal blows during the recent recession and was redefining its role in the community and renewing its commitment to underserved members of the community. The strategic plan encompassed an environmental scan and SWOT analysis, the creation of a new vision for the organization, roles and staffing, fiscal planning and metrics for reporting and program improvement.
My role in the group project was team leader and secretary. This was my first group project and because leading teams is mostly what I do in my day job I jumped right in. This library came to life through the input and contributions of the team members and together we solved very daunting challenges.
Supporting Evidence 2
My second piece of evidence is another strategic plan developed for a fictional multinational business enterprise in MARA 284. The EXILL Information Governance Strategic Plan presents a complex analysis of global factors and business drivers that set the priorities for an enterprise-wide information governance agenda. MARA 284 provided a series of intensive exercises that developed my analytical and executive capacities but this presentation captures and demonstrates those skills most fully.
This competency is one in which I have sometimes felt that I have an advantage because of my long career in management in the corporate world. Dabbling in content management in my work was what compelled me to pursue the MARA program. I have had a long time to grow my understanding of “how things work” in the business world but this program has given me new tools for assessment, analysis, strategic planning and most especially to leadership.
A records manager or archivist may have a wide variety of titles and may find herself in one of many different functional areas. The role may not even be dedicated to the RM function (mine is not). The possibility of having a hybrid role makes it even more important to know how to leverage whatever skills and resources are available. I cannot understate how valuable this program has been in giving me a new edge in management skills, an area that I had thought I was already proficient.