Which Side of the Bus are You On?

Just a thought from Jim Collins‘ book Good to Great. In that book, Jim writes this: “to build a successful organization and team you must get the right people on the bus.”

The “bus” is the company, the mission, the strategic plan. The “right people” are the ones that can do the work of the organization. The “wrong people” are the ones that don’t fit, that always cause problems, etc. Jim suggests “removing” those people from the bus, because they’re hindering the organization.

I was thinking about that bus metaphor awhile back. Besides managers, who are thinking about how to get the right people on the bus, who else should be thinking about that bus? Everyone should be.

There are at least five places you can be in relation to that ever-moving bus:

  • In front of the bus. Standing in front of a moving bus is generally NOT a good place to be. You’re going to get hurt. Get run over. There will be damage – to you, and maybe to the bus. These people didn’t plan, didn’t look at the roadmap of the organization, and now they’re standing in the way.
  • On the bus. This is the best place to be. That is, if you are a good fit for the organization, support where the organization is going, and can help get it there.
  • Behind the bus. Better than in front of the bus, but still not a good place to be. These people didn’t leave the organization, but also don’t like where it’s going. So they are being dragged along behind the bus. Maybe slowing the bus down, but not stopping it (because you can’t stop a moving bus).
  • Kicked off the bus. This is what Jim Collins talked about. These people didn’t fit in, and were asked to leave. Probably better to have not gotten on the bus in the first place, or maybe gotten off the bus when you noticed it was going somewhere you didn’t want to go.
  • Pushing the bus. OK. Sometimes, most staff realize the bus should be going somewhere, but the “driver” is snoozing at the wheel. Or driving the wrong way. Or driving too slow (that can be dangerous, right?). So these people are helping the bus along the best they can. There are probably better ways to get the bus moving (Get a new driver? Find a new bus? Wake the driver up? Call the dispatcher? Hmm…).

Where are you? On the bus? Behind the bus? Pushing the bus? Not interested in busses?

Bus photo by Gerard Stolk

One Library’s Twitter Strategy

My library has been doing a few different things with our Twitter account the last couple of years, and have finally settled on a Twitter strategy to try for the next 6 months or so.

Who’s connecting with us? Our Twitter followers tend more towards marketers, advertisers, start-up business types, the “activist/we get stuff done” types in town, the 20-40 year old business up-and-comers, and a lot of media types (broadcast, newspaper, and some radio journalists). And a bunch of young geeks.

We are focusing on this type of content:

  • What’s interesting (to the library) right now and why?
  • Library “breaking news”
  • No big sell – share what the library finds interesting
  • Be yourself, be casual, but at the same time remember you represent the library
  • Friend our customers and local businesses
  • In general, try for friendly and helpful, but not pushy.

Posting schedule: We post multiple times a day, every day. We have seven staff members assigned, one on each day. I’m the floater/substitute for when people are sick, on vacation, etc. And I monitor activity, answer the harder questions, and make sure we’re on-target.

How will we know if we succeed? I will measure growth and engagement via the new-fangled Twitter analytics!

That’s our plan. What’s your organization’s Twitter strategy?

Pic by Jeff Turner

Video, Youtube, and My Library

I’m still thinking about Youtube and videos, which I started with my post Poking Around in Youtube Insights. So my next couple of posts will talk as bit about YouTube and how to tweak your videos to make them more watchable.

For starters, here’s how many subscribers and video views my library’s Youtube account has received so far (since March 6, 2007):

  • 191 subscribers
  • 191,000+ video views total
What types of video do we generally create?
  • occasional video series (focusing on technology or special collections)
  • one-off videos for upcoming programs
  • videos for the annual report
  • interviews with authors and artists
  • an occasional book review

Looks like we are creating videos for marketing stuff, videos highlighting a collection or service, interviews with speakers … and an occasional book review. Makes sense – sounds like a library to me!

Current direction

Our current strategy for creating video is a pretty simple one. It’s “please make video, dump it to Youtube, and share on our website.” Can’t get simpler than that! And that has worked ok so far – some staff have really embraced that and make a lot of videos. Others use it when it makes sense. What’s this gotten us? We have a lot of videos up on Youtube that shows off our library, services, and staff. Not a a bad thing at all.

Our videos are generally watched, too:

  • most popular video 23,300+ views
  • third most pop video – patron created content!
  • our 15 most popular videos are parody, interviews, interesting stuff about our collections, and kids and teens-related content

Our current video-making tools:

  • video cameras – Three Flip cameras (too bad they stopped making these), a Canon GL2, a Sanyo Xacti, and a couple other video cameras.
  • Software – iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker.
  • Staff also use their own cameras/software…

Here’s what we plan to do in 2011:

  • We have two new video series in the works (one that I’ll be directly involved with)
  • I have started adding tags, contact info and urls to every post/video in youtube. I’m also making sure comments are answered.
  • Working on a fledgling video room for staff. Currently, we have a room, we have a Mac and a PC, and we have a green wall.
  • Starting in January, I’m buying some dedicated video mics, lights, and backdrops.
  • And, we have a goal to be more multimedia-focused…

That’s what we’re doing, anyway. What are your library’s plans for video in 2011?

man with video camera from Bigstock

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 3: Social Media Strategies & Goals

This was my session – here are my slides – enjoy! Look at the slides, and read this person’s notes, and you will get a good feel for the discussion.

Thinking about Strategy

The fine people at the WebDrivenChurch blog have been thinking about strategy – and I think their ideas for rethinking their tasks and projects is a great one, and can be adapted to also work for other organizations.

Here’s what they’re doing:

“We’re all so tied down to tasks that we can’t pick our heads up to dream again. So we’re doing something about it.

In every setting this might look different, but in ours it looks something like this:

  • Stop: There are things we have done for years that just don’t need to be done anymore. Identify and cut.
  • Combine: There are countless tasks that live independently of each other – but what if they could be combined? Identify and combine.
  • Move: There are thing we do that take HUGE amounts of time and energy. But it is only because of the process. If there were a simpler way to do it wouldn’t that be better? Identify and move.
  • Grow: There are things we are doing that are “old school.” We simply haven’t grown into the technology that is available in that area. Identify and grow.
  • Simplify: And in all things ask if there is a more simple way of presenting the content. Are our websites still too bloated? Have we let our media players get too full? Etc. Identify and simplify.”

What do you think – what can you stop, combine, move, grow, or simplify? I’m guessing a lot…