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Leadership Summit: New operating models #4

Library Leaders Summit launches Tuesday morning @ Computers in Libraries 2017. This final post poses some of the ‘prickly topics’ leaders must surface – must handle no matter how prickly or awful those topics are to pick up and manage. What’s a prickly topic? It’s a topic that we must address, vulnerably and honestly — like our operating models. Ewwww……. I can imagine people thinking, “our operating model? the way in which we operate? in which libraries organize and run their locations? services? processes? but we are already lean! we operate on a shoe-string!”

All the more reason for libraries to look through the lens of other organizations to examine the readiness of library operating models to be future-proofed or, really, future-successful. Here’s the last article to consider as you prepare for the Summit reflections, debates and discussion: from McKinsey & Company: How to start building your next-generation operating model.  Makes sense, doesn’t it? Since we all agree that the future will be different – how can we not change our operating models to fit future conditions?

McKinsey advises that the successful transformations of  operating models rely on these building blocks:

Building Block #1: Autonomous and cross-functional teams anchored in customer journeys, products, and services

Building Block #2: Flexible and modular architecture, infrastructure, and software delivery

Building Block #3: A management system that cascades clear strategies and goals through the organization, with tight feedback loops

Building Block #4: Agile, customer-centric culture demonstrated at all levels and role modeled from the top

How are these building blocks taking shape in your library? your organization?

To scaffold these blocks leaders must take “no regret” steps:

  • Create clarity on enterprise strategy and on where digital services can quickly enable sustainable value creation. (For more on this, see “The next-generation operating model for the digital world.”)
  • Challenge the Board – or, in academic, corporate or government environments the decision-makers – to be explicit about the importance of the transformation and its support for investment; or, as a board, making this decision and challenging the executive team for a bold vision.
  • Build top-team excitement and belief in change through visits to leading digital natives or incumbents pursuing their own transformation paths.
  • Assess the maturity of the management system using benchmarking against other organizations to identify strengths to build on and risks to mitigate.
  • Invest in targeted capability building, especially for the top 50 leaders in the organization. Exploring core concepts such as digitization, agile, design thinking, and advanced analytics can create a shared vocabulary and spur action.
  • Make an honest objective assessment of talent and capabilities within the organization, benchmarked against peers and cross-sector leaders. Disruption often comes from outside an industry rather than within.
  • Survey the cross-sector landscape for ideas and inspiration. It’s easier than ever to learn from others, and a rapid inventory of ideas can shed light on potential execution challenges to resolve.
  • Assess the level of change that the organization can realistically absorb in the near and long term given its other priorities.

It is the 2nd step listed here regarding the Board or decision-makers that is, perhaps, the most important for libraries. Gaining the space – the time – the investment – the dip in usual metrics or statistics – while the changes are instituted is critical.

So….how ARE your blocks being shaped? And which of these no-regret steps have you taken – are willing to take?

See you on Tuesday @ the Summit.

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