Four Things to Consider When Changing the Unchangeable

I have wanted to sort through the comments from my post “How Can We Change the Unchangeable, or David’s Rant” for awhile now, in hopes of gleaning a few tidbits of wisdom from you guys (my readers). So here we go!

Looks like there are approximately four things to consider when hoping to implement new technology (at least, these four things came out of your comments). They are:

1. Management problems
2. Finding champions
3. Creating a Vision
4. training Administrators

1. Management Problems: You guys mentioned some interesting problems, including budget constraints, no follow-through on an already-created strategic plan, the organization being slow to adapt to anything, and the “too much work too little time” mantra.

I see these problems as poor management. The “too mch work too little time” thing can be dealt with by changing job descriptions, responsibilities, etc. But this needs to be done in conjunction with a new direction (see Creating a Vision below).

Same with budget constraints – most emerging technology doesn’t cost any actual money (just time and staff resources), so budget isn’t really an issue.

2. Finding Champions: This was mentioned twice – finding the right team will ensure success, and finding a high-level champion will help as well. I believe both are mandatory for a new project to succeed. The team will build out the project, while the high-level champion can push for the project at the management level.

3. Creating a Vision: This is important! Please don’t start a bunch of technology projects without a true plan or any goals in mind. That will quickly kill the project. Having a plan, and having your plan match up with an organizational vision, will ensure the project’s continuation and the support of management.

4. Training Administrators: This was mentioned alot. Important things to do were to: show rather than tell, creating a plan (not just he product), and providing evidence that shows why the project is needed.

Here are the summarized versions of the comments from my post:

Jeff: Also a usage issue. Many managers don’t get involved in how their library works. Mentioned some library directors that don’t have library cards. Get those managers to see what the new thing is, how it works, and how it can benefit the library.

Kelley: break things to managers slowly. Most don’t seem to know much about emerging trends. Teach them about new technologies.

Helene: there should be a conference track on this!

Christie: The good old days are not coming back! There is no excuse for a library to not use these newer technologies. Staff should continue to press/teach/share about emerging trends. I especially liked this – “Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your administrator will say no. And even if they do say no, they are one conversation, one meeting or one conference away from hearing about Library 2.0…. after which they will probably seek you out to say “tell me about that again?””

Mike: brief story of how his library “saw the light” at the board level. Awesome.

Christina: believes management wants to do the right thing, and needs to see a bit more planning put into new ideas (fair enough).

Patricia: “delayed implementation is not denied implementation.” Also claimed the lack of money was a deciding factor in not adopting new technologies. I don’t buy that (since most of them are free).

Mita: Comments on dealing with naysayers by claiming that early adapters are also active in the community are are probably bibliophiles. Interesting…

Tired: One year after a new strategic plan, there is only a committee to show for it. I have seen that before (well, minus the committee – we didn’t get that far).

Sarah: Show a product rather than discuss a product when talking with administrators. Excellent idea.

Steven: He knows administrators who are open to new ideas. Thanks administrators might have reasons to refuse new technologies, like budget constraints or not matching up with a strategic plan.

Karen: “The right people working together will get somewhere.”

Carolyn: A vision committee was effective – discussing how to prepare for the graduate of 2020.

Grumpator: organization as a lumbering behemoth.

Linda: Need a high-level champion to implement new stuff.

Terry: too much work and not enough time.