Wednesday, February 02, 2011

OLA SuperConference 2011: Post 1...Mid-management Pre-Conference

  • George Needham and Joan Frye Williams and un-conference

  • started with brain-storming about the elements (attributes, ingredients) of an excellent library

  • 70+ combined years of experience...variety of perspectives

  • libs can't go where they want to go without middle management

  • challenges of mid-management...btwn a rock and a hard place...need to lead/follow, ask/tell etc.

  • need to design and implement the work

  • don't ignore challenges

  • it's not your job to make everyone happy!

  • there are ways to disagree and move forward

  • make people PRODUCTIVE

  • management does not equal's about making people effective

  • we are given influence, not control

  • what makes group work successful...brainstorming...collaboration/communication/leadership/budget/snacks/

  • soooo....someone has to be responsible for these elements of successful projects: voila le mid manager...don't leave things to fate

  • mid-managers need to own the responisbility to make stuff happen...empower people to do it

  • clear expectations: WHY is your dept/lib/project here...WHAT does your dept do? clear...HotShots / Dave the coach are good at your hardest / fun, fitness, friendship

  • TBPL as a whole needs more everyone has a clear vision re why we're it to get more circs than last year?!...if not, then what?

  • “here's what we know right now”...good phrase for mid-managers...b/c things change / expectations change... “ therefore the expectation is...”

  • don't loose track of why we're there...what the point is

  • expectations need to be communicated

  • understand what you have, not just what you don't have...”appreciative inquiry” (AI) (a phsychology concept) you can leverage your strengths (see salmon coloured handout for more on AI)...FAB!

  • focus on your a player / what can you bring to the table

  • in SWOT focus is on WO ...but need to focus on STRENGTHs...

  • beware of professional eyeors! (naysayers) who focus on what you don't have

  • there is more than one path to success / more than one way to do things right...and that is not chaos, that is empowerment!...provide a variety of tools / options...and focus on the end results, not the process

  • lead by example...treat peeps with respect, and make it clear that's what you expect

  • empathy...try and see things from other peeps' perspectives...Aristotle: it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it

  • know what your goal is, and focus on it

  • use the “parking lot” to park ideas which aren't part of the focus for now...and then have a “parking lot day”...good idea...I should make a “parking lot” folder / file / box

  • actions have consequences...and also in-action is an action, and it has consequences too

  • when someone isn't doing something, say to the person: “I see this isn't happening...what can I do to help?” (sort of like saying to a cranky waitress... “are you having a bad day...?”...and also like Madam Lavoie's strategy: first talk...)

  • innovation is about making things happen: finding the best ideas

  • “fresh practices” vs “best practices”

  • steal from people with R&D money!!! (ie not other libraries!)

  • put on my wall: “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” John Le have to get other perspectives...esp with the community...

  • meetings are not the same as conversations...if you have the choice, have a conversation

  • what do we do about the chorous from management re “what are other libraries doing?”

  • manage communications does not equal “control” conversations

  • default to tarnsparacney on the facts (good point!!!)

  • deal with the eyeroll... “tell me more about how you feel about that”

  • “here's what in it for you”...make it real for the person / how it affects them

  • communicating bad news:

    1. be empathetic

    2. don't delay

    3. stick to the facts

    4. no sugar coating

    5. no “sandwiching”

    6. link to principles

  • speaking truth to power: management needs to kow what's going 100% sure of your clear about the facts...find the facts first...lead with facts...”here is what I know...”...and offer a solution (don't just present a problem) ...if not a fully formed solution, then an offer to work on the solution

  • handling rumours:....library workers tend to catastrophise!...tie in to the grape vine

  • good communication requires that facts get showered on's your job to confirm or deny rumours as soon as possible

  • don't quote or assess blame, just get the facts out

  • if the rumour is about an individiual, you need to talk to them, get the facts, and find out how they want to handle it...let them know you have their back / will support them

  • if rumour affects your work you need to deal with it...acknowledge that productivitiy is affected, so you have to deal with it

  • good site for feedback:

  • “the classic objections” slide...make it into a poster and bring it to every meeting!...acknowledge... “quit being so negative” is not productive...instead say, “You're right, HOW CAN WE make it different this time?”

  • move from an obejction to a design criteria

  • translate objections in to “how can we'....?” make people work with you to find a solution

  • don't resist the negative force, go with it

  • blue sheet: about communicating new ideas it! Scripts for presenting new ideas / phrases etc.

  • Managing Decision Making:

    1. important to let people know the CONTEXT for decisions people don't think your decisions are arbritrary...where you're coming from...can help others improve their work / how your professional principles inform your decisions

    2. acknowledge real-world constraints

    3. tie thinks back to your mission

    4. don't justify your decision after the fact

  • “second bananaas” with your fellow mid-managers

  • assume responsibility for solutions...don't say someone else will do it (eg. We need more marketing...classic TBPL whine...take on the responsibility)

  • avoid binary's not all black and white...soutions ususally a mix of things

  • keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler!!!

  • treat exceptions as don't cater to the squeaky wheel!!! (we are guilty of that I think)

  • diff btwn principles, outcomes and techniques...

  • principles / outcomes / technique: know the difference...

  • principles = big picture / values

  • outcome = what happens to the peeps (patrons / community) as a result of their interaction with the Library

  • technique = tools to delivr the outcome

  • G&Jdid a podcast on this...will share link

  • “This I Believe” piece on G&J website (check it out) defines overriding lib principles

  • when you need to change a techniques, acknowledge the related otucomte and principles (which prob won't change)

  • important to make these distinctions when talking about change

  • consensus is about the preperation for moving forward...make the process fair; make sure people understand the decision criteria; that people have the chance to be heard...important:
    “Even if the decision isn't exactly what I would have chosen, I will support it fairly in my communications and actions.”....makre sure people agree to this....

  • run your shop like this...follow the three consensus points + ask people to agree to the fourth

  • try to spot patterns of dissent and anticipate needs

  • “suck it up, take the money and do the work”! Library staff have a tendancy to feel entitled to have things done their way. Decisions get made, and people have to follow through. Here's the task that has been set – let's get together and figure out how to get there.

  • If you're an employee you will be “employed” (ie. “used”!) many peeps forget this!!!

  • manage relationships / network / help your colleagues / work with partners

  • work with mentors: good to have someone outside of your's an honour to be a mentor...I should find one!!!...find someone who makes sense to you...cultivate the relationship...someone to tell you you're not crazy!

  • More than one mentor is inside, one outside...or more

  • like other relationsips, mentors may change over time ... needs to be mutually beneficial

  • don't let it be lonely at the top!

  • Hang out with people you don't work with (HOCKEY!!!!)

  • good to cultivate a non-library peer group

  • overcome the urge to hide!!!

  • stop and breathe

  • get out of your office...have some fresh air fun!

  • Go back to appreciattive inquiry (AI)...look at the gratititude to perk yourself up!

  • “at least I didn't break both legs!”

  • How do you eat an elephant? bite at a time!

  • Extra credit: infiltrate non-library groups! (HOCKEY!!! and TOASTMASTERS!!!)

  • manage results: think about continues results...cultivate continuous improvement

  • praise people for progress

  • think of little bits of improvement as normal

  • prepare for success! (eg OverDrive...+ adding Advantage program...+ adding classes...good for us)

  • good question to ask: What are we going to do if this works?

  • What keeps people motivated: #1 thing = a feeling of connection

  • therefore staff appreciation is so important

  • opportunities for growth are important

  • leave room for people to be create some work

  • connect to the otucomes...people need to know they're making a difference

  • people need to know management has their interests at heart

  • overcoming resistance...people who have “retired in place”, unmotivated etc and GET AWAY WITH IT...make other people qustion why they are bothering...#1 thing to do is NOT IGNORE resistance

  • “when staff dig in”: link to outcomes, listen to concerns, encourage participation, cultiveate champtions, reward desirable behvaiour, be prepared to change yoruself, repeat as nesc.

  • Sometimes resistance really is someone who doesn't want you to step in the poo

  • neutralize the pit dwellers! Give them two choices: whine privately, or don't come with us. Tell them, “This is the direction we're going...I would love it if you would join us...if not...stay behind, or be quiet.” Don't reward the negaitivity. The naysayer might be your boss.

  • Leveage mistakes: sometimes you wll step in the, learn from it. the traps become less random. Ask questions: what can you do?...what could you have done differently? Don't appologize, but rather investigate / learn from it / what did work? (appreciative inquiry)...your job is not to guarantee perfection...don't loose track of what is resonable

  • “if you're in control you're not going fast enough!” Mario Andretti

  • middle manager is like the concert charge of your section, under the umbrella of the conductor

  • when in doubt choose:

    1. simplicity! (good rule for life in general!)...don't cater to all the exceptions

    2. generosity (you don't have to be perfect...cultivagte inter-staff generosity...we're better together)

    3. flexibilty (tools not rules)

    4. urgency (we have to move quickly...can't wait for perfection)

    5. trust (it's ok to ask for back me get ready for this)

    6. fun (YEAH!....staff appreciation...YES!) (identify the most mickey-mouse rule, for eg!) people learn more when they're having fun

    7. show the passion (but you don't have to get the “bald kid with the book” tattooed on your body!)...let your colleagues see your passion

  • signs you're on the right track (post this slide in my office!.(pg 25 in handout)...and ask self @ end of day “What did I learn today?”....if nothing, take a step back and re-focus

  • don't try to make everyone happy!

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